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DOWN SOUTH. 



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DOWN SOUTH 



BY 

LADY DUFFUS HARDY 

AUTHOB OF 

"THROUGH CITIES AND PRAIRIE LANDS 



London: CHAPMAN AND HALL 

Limited 

1883 



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^ I 



LONDON 

R. Clay, Sons, and Taylor. 

BREAD STREET HILL. 




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CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

Two cities.— Our home upon the waters.— Southward bound. — " Only 
a brass star."— At Ford's Hotel Pages 1—13 

CHAPTER II. 

To-day and the yesterdays. — Richmond — Its monuments — Its sur- 
roundings. — The sculptor's studio. — Andromache . Pages 14 — 28 

CHAPTER III. 

Fire and ruins. — Through sylvan scenes. — The Cave of Lwray. — A 
jewelled city underground. — The white savages of Wise County. 

Pages 29— ^ 

CHAPTER IV. 

Through the great swamp. — Charleston. — A memory of the Old 
World. — Blacks and whites. — Peculiarities of the coloured folk. 
— A ghost of dead days. — Quaint scenes .... Pages 45 — 62 

CHAPTER V. 

St. Michael's chimes. — Architectural attraction. — Magnolia Cemetery. 
— A philosophical mendicant. — The market. — Aboard the boat. — 
Fort Sumpter Page^ 63—83 

CHAPTER VI. 

The great Salt Marsh. — A break down. — We reach Savannah. — Fancy 
sketches. — The forest city. — A gossip with the natives. — Cross 
questions and crooked answers . Pages 84 — 99 



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vi Contents. 

CHAPTER VII. 

To-day and yesterday.— General experience of travel in the South. — 
The associated Southern railways Pages 100 — 109 

CHAPTER VIII. 

En route for Jacksonville. — A feW words about Florida — Its climate. — 
Its folk — Its productions Pages WO — 121 

CHAPTER IX. 

Pine forests. — Arcadian scenes. — Strange companionship. — We reach 
Jacksonville Pages 122—131 

CHAPTER X. 

Jacksonville. — Our hotel. — Greenleaf's museum. — Floridian curiosities. 
East winds and tropical breezes. — Strawberry packing. 

Pages 132—143 

CHAPTER XI. 

Femandina. — Romance or history ? — Dungeness. — To Tocor. — On board 
the boat. — Oddities. — A lovely water drive . . Pages 144 — 158 

CHAPTER XII. 

St. Augustine. — A land of the long ago. — A chat with a Spanish 
antiquity. — Quaint streets. — City gate. — Fort Marion. — The old 
Slave Market. — The monuments. — The Plaza. — Cathedral and 
Convent Pages 159—179 

CHAPTER XIII. 

A chat by the way. — A steam bicycle. — Rough times. — At Ocala. 

Pages 180—188 

CHAPTER XIV. 

The " Okeehumkee." — The Silver Springs. — The weird wonders of the 
Ocklawaha Pa^rea 189— 203 



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Contents. vii 

CHAPTER XV. 
Picturesque scenery on St. John's River.— " Sickening for the fever 
ma'am?" — The inland lakes. — A pair of elderly turtle doves. — 
Sport on the Indian river Pages 204—221 

CHAPTER XVI. 

Retrospective. — A critical conductor. — Montgomery. — Train wreckers at 
work. — Weird scenes in the moonlight. — Silent watchers. — "Wild 
Cat" train to New Orleans Pa^^e* 222— 237 

CHAPTER XVII. 

New Orleans, " The Paris of the South." — French quarters. — Tropical 
street scene. — To Carrolton. — The Levies. —Classical architecture. 
— A coloured funeral. — The dismal swamp. — Lake Ponchartrain. — 
A gambling population Pages 238 — 252 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

Atlanta. — A wilderness of bricks and mortar. — Lovely surroundings. — 
Scarlet woods. — Memorial day. — Scenes in the cemetery. 

Pages 253—262 

CHAPTER XIX. 

Columbia. — Wright's Hotel. — Variegated scenes. — Past and present. — 
A Sabbath city. — The Penitentiary. — Sunday service. — A few last 
words Pages 263— 216 



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DOWN SOUTH. 

CHAPTER I. 

Two cities. — Our home upon the waters. — Southward bound. — 
" Only a brass star." — ^At Ford's hotel. 

A DULL haze hangs over the city ; St. Paul has put 
on his cap of clouds, and the great dome looms dimly 
on our sight ; the mystery of twilight has taken pos- 
session of the city, and shrouds the streets in the 
open day. The fine old trees in the parks and in 
the squares are losing their green foliage, and stand 
half naked, shivering in the damp autumn air, while 
their yellow shrunken leaves are swept rustling along 
the ground, moaning their melancholy protest against 
the wandering wind, and even thus early in the 
season — for it is only late September — ^visions of 
November fogs are looming in the near future.- But 
we turn our backs upon the dreary prospect, and 
send our thoughts onward towards the City of Rome 
whither we are fast journeying — not that ancient 

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2 Down South. 

city which sits upon its seven hills, like a discrowned 
queen, still ruling the world of Art, swaying the minds 
of men, and, like a gigantic loadstone, drawing the 
heart of the world towards herself, grander in her 
age of ruin than her youthful pride ; the glory of 
her dead days circles her with a halo of poetry and 
romance which renders her immortal. Her ruined 
palaces and temples lift their hoary heads and 
crumbling columns heavenward — impressive, awe- 
inspiring, and time-defying, showing only the foot- 
prints of the ages as they have passed solemnly 
onwards. The stir and bustle of every-day common- 
place life, the cavalcade of nineteenth-century 
frivolities and fashions, have failed to drive the spirit 
of antiquity from the place ; it still sits brooding in 
the air, permeating the souls and stirring the hearts 
of men with a passionate enthusiasm for the days 
that are gone. There is no coming and going of 
armies, no heathenish maraudings, no slave-trading, 
war-waging population nowadays; no centurion 
guards, no glittering cohorts flashing their arms and 
tossing their white plumes in the face of the sun ; 
yet they seem to have left their ghostly impression 
on the air, and in the still evening hours we feel their 
presence revealed to us through (what we call) our 
imagination, and the past marches solemnly hand- 
in-hand with the present before our spirit's eyes ; 
and while we think we are merely day-dreaming — 



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An Atlantic Steamer. 3 

indulging in pleasant reveries — the subtle essence of 
ourselves is mingling with an immortal past. But it 
is not towards this ancient city we are fast hastening ; 
our City of Rome is the creation of to-day, it has 
nothing to say to the yesterdays ; its kingdom belongs 
to the to-morrows, which are crowded into the years to 
come. It is not throned like its ancient namesake on 
seven hills, but rides upon the myriad waves of a 
limitless ocean, and looks as though it could rule 
them too — this floating city, which is to carry us 
three thousand miles across the fascinating, fickle, and 
inconstant sea. Like a strong young giant our noble 
vessel lifts its great black bulwarks into the sunlight, 
and we climb its steep sides in the full confidence 
that much of the nauseating horrors of a sea voyage 
will be spared to us. The Atlantic steamers, as every- 
one knows, are all luxuriously appointed, but this 
is the most luxurious ; our state room has two 
windows draped with green rep, a cosy sofa, and — 
luxury of luxuries — a reading lamp ; one berth is four 
feet wide, with a spring mattress, downy pillows, and 
plenty of them ; the upper berth is the usual size. 

It takes us some hours to explore the vessel from 
end to end, as we are kindly permitted to do ; occa- 
sionally we lose ourselves, and are picked up by a stray 
hand and set in the right way. We stroll through 
the grand saloon, where some frantic musician is 
abeady evoking solemn sounds from the grand organ, 

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4 Down. South. 

while the passengers are clamouring for seats at special 
tables, and the bewildered stewards are distracted in 
their endeavour to oblige everybody. It is a case of 
bull-baiting — British bull-baiting ; the poor bull is on 
the horns of a dilemma ; he manages to extricate 
himself somehow, and things settle down to general 
satisfaction. Descending to the engine-room, we seem 
to have a glimpse of the infernal regions — such 
a rattle and clatter of machinery, whizzing and 
whirling amid the blaze of a hundred fires, some 
lashed to white heat, others blazing with a steady 
roar, their red flames leaping over their fiery bed, 
lighting up the swarthy faces of the firemen, who look 
like dusky gnomes flitting among eternal fires. By 
the time we reach the upper deck the tender has 
departed, the anchor is up, and — are we moving? 
We seem to be still stationary, but the shores of 
England are receding from us, the long, curving 
lines of the shore growing dim and more dim, the 
forest of shipping with its tall masts and fluttering 
sails fades slowly from our sight, and as the twilight 
closes in we are almost out of sight of land ; it 
vanishes away till it looks like a bank of low-lying 
clouds fringing the horizon; now and then a white 
sail flashes out of the darkness and is gone. 

The night is simply superb, and the heavens are 
ablaze with stars, like a jewelled canopy stretching 
over us as far as the eye can reach. Such brilliancy 



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At Sea. 5 

above ! Such a soft, hazy atmosphere around us I 
We seem to be floating away into dreamland, as our 
giant vessel glides like a phantom ship through the 
drowsy night ; but for the phosphorescent waves 
which run rippling at the side, or swirl in white 
feathery foam round the bow, we should not know 
that we are moving — yet we are going at the rapid 
rate of sixteen knots an hour, so steadily her iron 
keel treads through the world of waters. Some of 
our fellow-passengers group themselves on the deck, 
or stroll up and down singing old home songs or 
catches, and glees. Lulled by these pleasant sounds 
and occasional echoes of the sailors' voices, we sleep 
soundly through our first night at sea. 

To some this voyage is a new experience, and to 
them everything is a pleasure and delight ; their senses 
are on the qui vive, and they extract a keen enjoy- 
ment from the slightest matter; whether they are 
watching the shifting colours of the sea and skies, 
strolling idly up and down, or leaning over the 
bulwarks, straining their eyes over the vast expanse, 
eagerly expecting a school of whales to go spouting 
past, they are equally happy and content, seeing 
mountains where never a molehill exists; the atmo- 
spheric changes interest them, the whistling of the 
wind through the shrouds makes a new music to their 
ears, and the life on board ship with all its variations 
has the charm of novelty. But the novelty soon wears 



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6 Down South. 

oflF and they gradually awake to the fact that a sea- 
voyage is a most monotonous affair. This the hdbitueSy 
to whom the voyage is as an oft-told tale, realise 
from the first moment ; they know precisely how the 
next ten days are likely to pass, and at once set their 
minds to enliven the monotony, every one contributing 
something to the amusement of the whole. We are 
especially fortunate on the present occasion, there 
being several of Colonel Mapleson's company on 
board, who are most amiable in their endeavours to 
amuse their fellow-passengers. There is also an 
unusual amount of amateur musical and dramatic 
talent on board, and they combine together and 
organise a concert or some kind of dramatic 
entertainment every evening. 

About eight o'clock everybody turns out in pretty, 
simple toilettes, and the stream sets towards the 
music-room. Great Britain is sparsely represented, 
and I don't think with the best specimens ; the scanty 
few seem manufactui*ed for foreign travel only, and 
are not of the finest workmanship, either of art 
or nature. 

On the evening of the first entertainment a gorgeous 
apparition appeared in the shape of the master of the 
ceremonies, the only evident reason for his filling that 
position being his possession of a swallow-tail' coat. 
He was a fair, slim young man, with his hair parted 
down the middle* He was in full evening dress, with 



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The Master of the Ceremonies. 7 

a huge artificial flower — a sunflower — in his button- 
hole, and white gloves too long for his fingers. He 
was a British-Australian, we learned. When he 
opened his mouth he dropped, not pearls, but h's ; he 
dropped them in one place and picked them up in 
another, and in his attempt to announce the difi^erent 
operatic airs he mangled the soft Italian language till 
it fell upon the ear a mass of mutilated sounds. He 
had to run the gauntlet of a good deal of masculine 
chajff, which he bore with a stolid equanimity born of 
self-contentment ; however, he unconsciously con- 
tributed to the general amusement, and gave rise 
to some humorous illustrations which served to 
beguile the time. 

The weather continues delightful, a balmy atmo- 
sphere brooding over a smooth, grey sea. In quiet 
uninteresting calm the days pass by, but at night 
nature rallies her forces and gives us some glorious 
sunsets, filling the pale skies with cloud islands of 
golden light, while white and crimson feathery plumes, 
like spectral palms, float hither and thither across the 
sea-green sky. But nobody cares for a second-hand 
sunset, it must be seen to be appreciated — no word- 
painting or most brilliant colouring on canvas can 
convey an idea of it. 

About mid-ocean we fall into foul weather, and a 
violent game of pitch and toss ensues ; a clatter of 
broken china, contused limbs; and half a score of 



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8 Down South. 

black eyes are the result. There is a tough-fibred, 
strong-brained missionary on^ board, whose very face 
in its stern rigidity is suggestive of torments here and 
hereafter. He takes advantage of the occasion and 
lifts up his eyes and voice in violent denunciation 
of all miserable sinners, exhorts everybody to repent 
upon the spot as the day of doom is at hand — the 
Lord has come in storm and tempest to break up the 
good ship and bury her living freight at the bottom 
of the sea ! He aggravates the fear, and tortures the 
nerves, of the weaker vessels, till several ladies are 
carried to their berths in violent hysterics. Some 
few husbands, fathers, and lovers, expressed a strong 
desire to have that missionary "heaved overboard." 
We pitied the poor heathens who would presently 
benefit by his ministrations. 

We pass out of the storm into genial American 
weather — blue skies, soft, ambient air, and brilliant 
sunshine. A foretaste of the lovely Indian summer 
greets us long before we reach the shore. Our vessel, 
owing to its gigantic size, is a long time swinging 
round and entering its dock. We are in sight of 
New York at three in the afternoon, but it is late 
in the evening before we are able to efiect a landing. 

Everybody knows what a New York winter is like. 
We plunge at once into the hurly-burly, and for the 
next few months we "do as the world doth — say as 
it sayeth," and being bound to the wheel whirl with 



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Southward, Ho ! 9 

it till the hard king, frost, melts and disappears under 
the genial breath of a somewhat humid spring ; then 
we turn our faces southward. 

It is impossible for the best disposed person to 
extract much pleasure from a dismal drive across the 
plains of Pennsylvania, while the heavens are weeping 
copiously, drenching the sick earth with their tears, 
and dropping a grey cloud mantle over it. A heavy 
mist is hiding everything, and moves like a shrouded 
funeral procession among the tall trees, as though it 
had wrapped the dead winter in its grave-clothes, 
and was carrying it away for burial in some invisible 
world we know not of. A damp chillness clings and 
crawls everywhere ; it finds its way to our very bones ; 
we shiver, and draw our wraps closer round us. The 
whole world seems veiled in mourning for the sins 
of our forefathers ; even the buoyant spirits of the 
famous Mark Tapley must have gone down under 
these dreary surroundings. 

There is nothing to be seen, nothing to be heard, 
but the pattering rain upon the windows, and the 
snort or occasional scream of our engine, like the 
shriek of a bird of prey, as it sweeps on its iron 
road. We look round us ; everything and everybody 
seems in a state of depression, wrapped in a general 
gloom. The whimpering cries of the children sink 
into a dismal rhythmical wail, as though they wrangled 
by arithmetic, and wept according to rule. 



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10 Down South. 

There was a small family of these human fledg- 
lings aboard, and the parent bird was sorely tried in 
her endeavour to keep within bounds the belligerent 
spirits of her flock ; in vain she called their attention 
to imaginary " gee-gees " and the invisible wonders 
outside — they stared out into the blankness, dis- 
covered the deception, and howled louder than ever. 
The cock-horse limped on its way to Banbury Cross, 
and even the lady with rings on her fingers and 
bells on her toes made music in vain. At last a 
mysterious voice issued from a muffled man in a 
corner, ofiering " ten dollars to anybody who would 
smother that baby." 

We all sympathised with the spirit of the offer, 
but perhaps the fear of after-consequences prevented 
anybody from accepting it. The mother dived into 
a boneless, baggy umbrella, which apparently served 
as luncheon basket, wardrobe, and, I verily believe 
might have been turned into a cradle ; thence she 
abstracted crackers, apples, and candies — and cotton 
handerchiefs which she vigorously applied to their 
little damp noses. 

This interesting family got off* at Baltimore and 
left us for diversion to our own resources, to feed 
upon our own reserve fund of spirits, which afforded 
but poor entertainment. 

As we reached Washington there was a rift in the 
clouds overhead, and a brilliant ray of sunlight darted 



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Washington. 1 1 

through, lighting up the city, and gilding the great 
dome of the Capitol with heavenly alchemy ; it might 
have been that some immortal eye had opened 
suddenly, winked upon this wicked world, and 
shut again, for in a moment it was as dark and 
cheerless as before. 

Here we change cars, and as we pass through the 
little waiting-room there is a general rush, a cluster- 
ing at one spot, and a babel of voices clash one with 
another ; we catch a few wandering words — " Here's 
where he fell, right here," '* Carried out that way," 
" The wretch, I hope he'll be hung," &c. We look 
down and see a small brass star let into the ground, 
which marks the spot where poor Garfield fell ; 
women prod it with their parasols, men assault it 
with their walking-sticks. We have no time to 
shed the " tributary tear " ; the bell rings " All aboard, 
all aboard," and in another moment we are on our 
way to Kichmond. The weather clears, a few glanc- 
ing gleams of golden sunlight stream through the 
broken clouds, then the sun closes its watery eye 
and goes to sleep, with a fair promise of a bright 
to-morrow. 

We roll on through the fresh greenery of Maryland 
till the evening shadows fall and the death of the 
day's life goes out in gloom and heaviness. We 
spend the hours in anticipatory speculations till we 
reach Richmond about ten o'clock ; we drive at a rapid 



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12 Down South. 

pace through the rough stony streets till we pull up at 
Ford's hotel, where we intend taking up our quar- 
ters. A night arrival at a strange hotel is always 
more or less depressing — on this occasion it is especially 
so ; we pass from the dim obscurity of the streets 
without to a still greater obscurity within. Preceded 
by a wisp of a lad we ascend the stairs and pass 
through a dimly-lighted corridor ; not the ghost of 
a sound follows us, the echo of our footsteps is 
muffled in the thick carpet, and swallowed up in 
the brooding silence. 

Our attendant unlocks and throws open a door, 
flourishes a tiny lamp above his head, then, with 
an extra flourish, sets it on the table, inquiring with 
a hoarse voice, as though he had just made a meal 
of sawdust, "do we want anything more " ; as we 
had had nothing we could not very well require 
any more of it. By the light of our blinking lamp 
we inspect our apartment, which is at least amply 
supplied with beds ; there are three of them, each 
of Brobdignagian proportions — rivals to the great 
bed of Ware — they fill the room to overflowing and 
seem struggling to get out of the window. We are 
soon lost in a wilderness of feathers and wandering 
through the land of Nod. It seems to me that the 
worst room in the house is always reserved for the 
punishment of late arrivals, which is bad diplomacy on 
the part of hotel proprietors, as it frequently drives 



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Pleasant Quarters. 13 

their guests away in search of better quarters. It 
might have been so with us ; but the next morning 
our smiling host appears and ushers us into a 
delightful suite of rooms on the ground floor, oppo- 
site the gardens of the Capitol, where the playful 
squirrels are so numerous and so tame that they 
will come jumping across the road to your windows 
to be fed, take nuts from your hand, and sit demurely 
by your side and crack them. 



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CHAPTER 11. 

To-day and the yesterdays. — ^Kichmond. — Its monuments. — Its 
surroundings. — ^The sculptor's studio. — Andromache. 

It is at Kichmond we get our first view of the South 
and the Southern people. Although we are only 
twelve hours from the booming, hustling city of New 
York, yet we feel we have entered a strange land. 
The difference is not so much in mere externals, as 
that the whole character of life is changed, and from 
all sides it is borne upon us that we are in the land 
of a " lost cause ; " it impregnates the very air we 
breathe, and is written on the grave earnest faces 
of the people ; it reveals itself everyivhere and 
in everything. 

A few hours in Richmond, and somehow we feel 
as though the war was of yesterday. The victor 
may forget, but the vanquished, who have tasted 
the bitterness worse than death, remember; it is 
ever "yesterday" with the mother who mourns her 
dead. The passion for Virginia glows in every 
Virginian breast, and a myriad hearts beating as 



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The South of To-day. 15 

one mourn with proud regret for her noblest sons. 
Not Virginia alone ; the generous North and faithful 
South unite in yielding due reverence to the indomit- 
able Jackson and to Lee — the stainless gentleman and 
pure patriot. Here, in Kichmond, those names are 
household words, and every day we hear fresh 
anecdotes of their lives and deaths. But the South 
does not waste its time in lamenting over their 
graves ; there is no greater mistake than to imagine 
that it is frittering away its energies in vain regrets. 
The past is past, the dead are buried ; and on the 
ruins of the old life the South is building up a new — 
in fact, it is recreating itself. New railways opening, 
great factories arising on every side, bear witness 
to the energy with which the South is throwing itself 
into the work of restoration. The reviving South of 
to-day bears promise of fairer fruitage, a far nobler 
future than could ever have been reaped from their 
beloved and buried past. Now that the curse of 
slavery, the inherited evil — not their crime, but their 
misfortune — has been torn out of the fair land, at the 
root of whose seeming prosperity it lay coiled like a 
canker worm — now that the blot is eflfaced, washed 
away in the life blood of the best and bravest of the 
North and South — their undaunted spirits are united 
in one grand eflfort to lift up their beautiful land till it 
shall stand in the foremost rank among many nations. 
No one visiting the South to-day can recognise a 



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16 Down South. 

single feature of its ancient self, so complete is the 
change that has swept over the whole land, so silent 
the revolution that has worked in the minds of men 
and the arrangement of things. It is like a creature 
that has been dead, buried, and resurrected to a 
higher and nobler state of existence ; in fact, looking 
back upon its life among the yesterdays it can scarcely 
recognise itself; the very atmosphere seems changed 
from a sultry enervating air to an invigorating 
breeze, affecting the spirits as well as the bodies of 
the people. 

Never was ruin so proudly met, defeat so grandly 
borne ; there is no useless looking back, no lingering 
regrets over the irrevocable past — their eyes and 
their energies are bent on the onward march. But 
we must hasten to take our first view of the city 
of Richmond. 

It is situated something like its namesake, our own 
English Richmond, only instead of being laved by 
our broad familiar Thames, it is girdled by the grand 
historic river " James," which winds in graceful coils 
in and out and round and round like a silver serpent 
gliding through a paradise of green. The city stands 
on a series of low-lying softly undulating hills ; the 
Capitol, a building of pure classical architecture, 
stands in the centre of the city silhouetted against 
the bright blue sky, and is a landmark for miles 
round. Standing on this Capitol Hill, the highest 



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KiCHMOND ON THE JaMES. 17 

point, we have a magnificent view spread pano- 
ramically before and around us, while on every side 
the landscape blends all the softness and brilliant 
colouring of the lowlands with the strength and 
majesty of the highland scenery, variegated by 
picturesque near views of land and water, here a 
white sail flutters in the soft breeze, and groups of 
grand old forest trees lift their leafy crowns high into 
the cloudland, and are sometimes lost among the 
fleecy cloudlets grey and white that are sailing by, 
leaving the azure blue far above them ; from this 
point of vantage, we look down, to where the city 
fades away in ragged fringes of poor squalid-looking 
dwellings, apparently inhabited by our brethren of 
African descent. The principal residential streets 
are certainly fine and wide, with handsome detached 
houses in varied styles of architecture, which redeem 
from any monotony the quiet, dignified, and em- 
phatically *' gentlemanly neighbourhood." Looking 
to the left we see the shabby one-horse cars crawling 
along the crazy up-and-down streets, running hither 
and thither, stretching away till they are hidden in a 
wilderness of green or lost in the pale blue mist of 
the distant horizon, and the public buildings, 
cathedral, and many-spired churches are prominent 
features therein. The river stretching away to the 
right widens and hides among the foothills, then 
reappears again and again till it dwindles into a 

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18 Down South. 

narrow thread, seeming to sew the land and skies 
together. Looking round on this imposing scene, 
so rich in memories of bygone days, our thoughts 
naturally connect the present with the past, and 
wander through the long line of dead years to a time 
more than two centuries ago, when the great ships 
ploughed the breast of this. river, and brought the first 
freight of civilisation to what was then a wilderness. 

Away to the left, about two miles along the banks 
of the river, we descry the spot where Powhatan 
wielded his sceptre and ruled his dusky tribe as kings 
rule not in these days ; we can almost fancy we see 
Pocahontas launch her frail skilff upon the bosom of 
the placid water. 

All trace of the tribe and of their dwelling is 
swept away ; only the grand old trees marked by 
the finger of passing ages still stand, with gnarled 
and knotted trunks, quivering leaves, and withering 
branches, as though they were struggling in their 
death agony, and must soon lie low, with the rest 
of earth's perishable things. Only a stretch of 
fancy, and we see Captain Smith surrounded by 
swarms of threatening faces, passing under their 
green vigorous branches, as he believes, to a barbarous 
death. 

Before descending the hill, we make a tour of 
inspection around the splendid groups of statuary 
which adorn the gardens. First in public favour and 



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Stonewall Jackson, 19 

in general interest stands the Washington monu- 
ment; a gigantic and finely executed equestrian 
figure of George Washington, mounted on an impos- 
ing granite column, -rising from a star-shaped base ; 
beneath and around him, standing on separate pillars, 
are the full sized figures of Patrick Henry, Thomas 
Jeflferson, and sundry other heroes and statesmen of 
past days ; but of later and fresher interest, is the 
bronze statue said to be a life-like portrait of Stonewall 
Jackson. This fine production is believed to be the 
last and best work of the celebrated English sculptor 
Foley ; it bears the following inscription : — 

" Presented by English gentlemen as a tribute of 
admiration for the soldier and patriot, Thomas J. 
Jackson, and gratefully accepted by Virginia in the 
name of the Southern people. Done a.d. 1875, in 
the year of the Commonwealth." ^'Look! There is 
Jackson, standing like a stone walV 

Yes ; there he stands to-day, in dark and strong 
relief against the burning blue of his own Virginian 
skies ! Stands, every inch a chief, as he will stand for 
ever shrined in the hearts of the Southern people — 
a monument of all that is staunch and true in human 
kind ; not more immovable now upon his marble 
pedestal, than at that hour when the ranks of his 
men in grey stood like granite under the Federal fire. 
In the Capitol library hangs the Confederate flag, 
dusty and battle-worn, proudly pointed out to 

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20 Down South. 

strangers, and regarded with reverence by those who 
followed it, and saw it flutter through the smoke 
of battle. Round the library walls are ranged the 
portraits of the great Southern leaders. Here is the 
noble and thoughtful face, " the good grey head that 
all men knew," of General Lee, and there the dark 
stern brow of Stonewall Jackson; and here is 
Jefferson Davis, and many other statesmen and 
patriots of the fallen Confederacy. 

An ardent Virginian accompanied us on our tour 
through his beloved city ; with lingering eyes, he 
gazed tenderly upon the figure of the general who 
had led them through so many fires. 

^^ Ah ! " said he, shaking his head regretfully, 
" there'll never be another Stonewall, he was popular 
even with the union men ; they all admired our 
dashing commander." He added with kindling eyes, 
" I remember one day, when our troops were camped 
on the south bank of the Eappahannock about a mile 
from the shore, the Federal troops occupied the op- 
posite side ; both encampments extended for several 
miles, a line of pickets was stretched along both 
banks, and though within easy rifle shot of each other, 
firing was by tacit agreement for a while suspended. 
Although talking across the river was strictly pro- 
hibited, the orders were not heeded, and lively 
wordy skirmishing was carried on. One day, loud 
cheering was heard on the left of the Confederate 



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The Allan House. 21 

line, and as brigade after brigade took it up, the 
sound rolled down the southern side of the river. 

" ' What's all that cheering about, boys ? ' asked the 
Federal pickets. 

'* ' It's old Stonewall riding along the line,' was the 
reply, shouted across the water ; and the pickets on 
both sides of the river took up the cry, and foes and 
friends together were waving their hats and shouting — 

'' ' Hurrah I hurrah ! for old Stonewall ! ' " 

Having duly admired aU we ought to admire, we 
descend the hill and commence our explorations of 
the town. We thread the pretty shady streets, pass 
the Monumental Church, erected above the ruins of 
the Kichmond Theatre, which was destroyed by fire 
in 1811 during the performance of The Bleeding 
Nun^ when scarcely a dozen of the audience were 
saved, and many of the most influential families of 
the town perished in the flames. We pause a moment 
before the "AUan House," where that strange 
mystical genius, Edgar AUan Poe, passed the early 
years of his most troublous self-tormented life. It 
is a square, old-fashioned, brick building, with a high 
sloping roof, surrounded by ragged, forlorn-looking 
weedy grounds ; ruin is fast working its will with the 
old house, and desolation seems to flap its wings 
from the tumbling chimney stacks, while memories 
of brighter days are brooding behind the shuttered 
windows. Presently we pass the Libby Prison — a 



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22 Down South. 

large, low, melancholy-looking building on the banks 
of the river. We shudder as we remember the 
tales of bygone suflferings there, and pass quickly on 
our way to visit the tobacco factory of Messrs. Mayo 
and Co. No overpowering odour such as we had 
apprehended greets us there as we enter the premises, 
but a sweet pleasant fragrance, like that of Spanish 
liquorice or some agreeable confection, pervades the 
atmosphere. We arrive at the busiest business hour 
of the day, and the " hands,'' consisting of several 
hundred negroes, are industriously at work, weighing, 
sorting, sifting, and pressing with all their might ; a 
hive of the busiest of human bees, singing their 
quaint songs, but never for a moment relaxing in 
their labours — their melancholy, melodious voices 
rising and falling, swelling and rolling, in waves of 
harmonious sounds. As, one after the other, they 
become conscious of the presence of strangers, their 

voices die away, and a hush gradually falls over the 

ft 
entire mass. 

Seeing how much we are struck by those peculiarly 

sweet negro voices, Mr. Mayo courteously desires a 

select number to gather at one end of the extensive 

room, and sing for our special benefit. Chairs are 

brought, an impromptu auditorium formed, the dusky 

troop assemble, and a tall, coal-black negro, with 

white gleaming teeth and shining eyes, steps forward, 

strikes the first note, and leads his fellows through 



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Negro Melodies. 23 

the musical maze. They wander away from the 
fields of their own quaint melodies, and, I presume 
in deference to our presence, start at a run into the 
realms of religious poetry, and sing some of their 
stirring revivalist hymus, characteristic of their race 
and reflecting their tone of mind. 

Before we leave, however, they descend from their 
heights, and ring out some catching popular airs, 
winding up with an old favourite, "The Suwanee 
River." After a most pleasant hour we take our leave, 
and carry with us an impression we shall not easily 
forget. Down on the main street we pass the " old 
stone house," the most ancient building in the city. 
Tradition connects it with the names of Washington, 
Lafayette, and many other celebrities of bygone days ; 
there are several other roomy old-fashioned houses 
scattered about the city, more interesting from their 
historical association than their architectural beauty. 
Progressing still downwards, we cross the bridge 
which connects Richmond with the suburb of Man- 
chester, a dreary-looking, scattered town on the 
opposite bank of the river. We stand for many 
minutes on the centre of the bridge, and gaze round 
in simple awe and admiration. The river, no longer 
a tranquil stream, boils and bubbles in whirling 
eddies beneath our feet, rushing in roaring rapids on 
its tempestuous way, leaping in white foam flecks 
over the rough boulders, and hissing round the base 



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24 Down South. 

of the beautiful islands which rise from its stormy 
breast — ^not bald or barren islands, but covered with 
a rich growth of variegated shrubs and trees, which 
spread their green branches, like blessing hands, over 
the face of the stormy waters. It is a wonderfully 
fine view, full of suggestive poetry and romance, 
and for many moments holds us spell-bound; this 
rich woodland, growing out of the depths of the 
turbulent water in serene loveliness, contrasting with 
the white gnashing teeth of the foaming wave-crests 
below. On our left rises the city of Richmond, seated 
like a queen upon her throne, clasped by her girdle 
of green, and living waters flowing at her feet. On 
our right stands the homely city of Manchester, a 
foil to the grace and loveliness of the fair city on the 
opposite shore ; before us lie the ancient hunting 
grounds of Powhatan ; around us the land-locked 
waters rush foaming and roaring on, winding through 
banks of glorious green till they fall into the quiet far- 
off bay and there find peace, like unquiet spirits 
sinking to eternal rest. Low-lying upon the shore 
close by are the Tredegar Iron Works, belching forth 
flames and smoke, flinging their lurid light in the 
face of the summer sun. 

We are travelling with flpng feet, and have little 
time to loiter on our way ; having taken in the chief 
points of interest in the city of Richmond, we drive 
out to the beautiful cemetery of Hollywood ; this is 



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The Sculptor at Home. 25 

rather a melancholy pleasure, for on every side are 
monuments raised to the illustrious dead, whose names 
are familiar to our ears as household words ; they are 
written in emblazoned letters on the scroll of fame, 
and will be read by trumpet-tongue when they are 
unrolled in the light of heaven. Here is the invari- 
able monument to the " Confederate dead ;" it is the 
first we see, but not the last, by many. No Southern 
city is so poor but it can afford to lavish its tribute 
of honour to its loved and lost. 

Before leaving Kichmond we pay a visit to the 
studio of the well-known sculptor, E. V. Valentine, 
of whom Virginia is so justly proud. The studio is 
full of minor works of art ; hands and feet, as though 
they were lately amputated, are flung in dusty 
corners ; masks and faces frown or smile from the 
walls, and many- winged cherubs are flying over our 
heads. Some have flown away, and are fixed in 
monumental marble in some far-away graveyard ; 
and bygone beauties, some robed in white, some in 
the salmon-coloured glory of terra-cotta, are crowded 
on the shelves, face downward or upward, tumbled 
one over the other without the slightest regard to 
their dignity. On one side of the room stands a 
dwarfed equestrian figure of General Lee ; he appears 
to have been arrested sword in hand as he was gallop- 
ing to the front, the look and attitude are startlingly 
life-like ; we can almost fancy we hear the word of 



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26 Down South. 

command issuing from the stony lips ; one touch of 
the magic wand would make the marble palpitate and 
live ; but the living must die, and this piece of 
sculptured stone will stand for ages to come; long 
after generation on generation has passed away, he 
will still stand in the light of the world's eyes even 
as he is standing before us now, with the " light of 
battle on his face " and the word of command upon 
his lips. On the opposite side of the room lies the 
reverse figure ; there the patriot chief is stretched full 
length upon his bier as on a bed of rest, the noble 
face set in a mighty calm, the left arm thrown 
across his breast, the right straightened at his side, 
grasping his sword, " the attitude in which he 
always slept upon the battle-field." So one of his 
faithful followers tells us as he looks down on the 
recumbent figure. 

"Why represent him in repose?'' he demurs. 
'* To me, who have seen him so often in action, it 
is not the attitude in which he should have been 
immortalised." 

We think otherwise as we gaze on the serene and 
noble face set in the calm of — is it sleep ? or death ? 
After action, repose ; after the battle-fever, rest. To 
us it is sweet, not sad, to think how — 



" To the white regions of eternal peace 
The General has gone forward ! *' 



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Andromache. 27 

In the centre of the room a huge calico extinguisher 
has descended from the ceiling, and hides something 
we are about to see ; some invisible machinery upraises 
the extinguisher, and reveals a muffled group, swathed 
in wet linen, which is slowly unwound — and we gaze 
upon the sculptor's rasLSten^iece, Andromache, modelled 
in clay. He has chosen no moment of tragic agony for 
his work ; but a still scene of home life. Hector has 
gone to the war — ^the pain of parting is over, and 
Andromache sits at her spinning-wheel, her hands 
lyiug listlessly in her lap, the thread still between her 
fingers, her eyes looking forward but seeing nothing. 
Her thoughts have wandered after her hero, and are 
lost on the battle-field. The attitude, full of grace, is 
one of utter despondency, the lovely face is full of 
sadness and longing, shadowed by a weariness that 
tells of almost helpless despair. A lizard, the emblem 
of death, is stealing out from among the folds of her 
drapery, to snap the thread that lies so loosely in her 
hand. Her child, a sunny-faced, smiling cherub, has 
climbed upon her lap, and is playing with her neck 
ornament, trying in vain to attract her attention, 
and watching for the smile of recognition to dawn 
upon her lips. 

The work is still in an unfinished state ; the artist 
being occupied in arranging the draperies and carry- 
ing out other details of his work. It is exquisite 
in design and finely executed. I have no doubt that 



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28 Down South. 

this rare work of art, will, when completed, find its 
way into the European galleries. Meanwhile the 
artist turns a shower of spray upon the beautiful 
group, wraps her again in her damp swathing clothes, 
the calico extinguisher descends, and Andromache is 
lost to view. 



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CHAPTER III. 

Fire and ruins. — Through sylvan scenes. — The cave of Luray. 
— ^A jewelled city underground. — The white savages of 
Wise County. 

After spending a delightful week in Richmond, we 
begin to think it is time to be " moving* on." So 
anxious are we to resume our journey southward, we 
decide to go by the evening train, but unfortunately 
about mid-day a thick smoke fills the air, and over- 
spreads the city like a funeral pall. We learn that 
the railway bridge is on fire, burning so furiously, and 
spreading so rapidly, that in the space of an incredibly 
short time the buildings on either side are gutted, and 
the wind carries the flying sparks over the city, and 
for a time it is in danger of total destruction ; people 
rush out of their houses, and watch breathlessly the 
result ; but the sparks fly over the house-tops in a 
flaming shower, setting fire to one roof after another ; 
and at last, after scaring half the town, catching at 
the tindery thatch of the Allan House, threatening to 
destroy one of the chief landmarks of the ill-starred 



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30 Down South. 

poet's life, but the passers by rush to the rescue, 
and the old house is saved for the benefit of new 
generations of relic hunters. 

We fear that the destruction of the railway bridge 
will cause us difficulty, and detain us in Richmond to 
our inconvenience ; but our landlord assures us we 
shall be able to start in the evening, as we had originally 
designed. ^' Things are sure to be fixed all right,'' he 
says. Wonderfully expressive, and variously applied 
is that little word " fix," in the idiomatic language of 
this " Greater Britain." Never did so small a word 
mean so much ! It does duty as a " word of all work," 
in the kitchen, in the stable, and in the lady's chamber ; 
the ladies "fix " their hair, the gentlemen " fix " their 
whiskers, they " fix " their dinners, they " fix " their 
babies, they "fix" their weddings, they "fix" their 
funerals — in fact that little insignificant monosyllable 
is imported into all the articles of their daily life, and 
they live in a general atmosphere of " fixing." 

In accordance with our host's kind assurance, things 
are pleasantly "fixed" for our departure, the only 
inconvenience being that we have to drive across the 
foot-bridge (so called because it is a wide carriage 
drive) over the river, and take the train from 
Manchester on the other side. The shades of evening 
are fast falling round us as we drive down the narrow 
streets towards the river, and thence take our last view 
of these Richmond hills, which remind us so strongly of 



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A Last Look. 31 

that other Eichmond, girded by our winding river 
Thames. 

The Capitol with its silent groups of heroic dead is 
dimly shadowed forth in the fading light ; here and 
there the street lamps are lit, and look like glimmering 
glow-worms crawling up the narrow winding ways ; 
and from the stained glass windows of many churches 
the mellow light streams through, revealing a fantastic 
kind of mosaic in brilliant hues — blue and crimson, 
green and gold, blending harmoniously together ; the 
roll of the organ, and the united voices of the singers 
follow us down through the hilly street until they 
are lost in the distance. 

The dark river is rushing beneath the foot-bridge at 
our feet ; and on our right the foaming flood is lighted 
by the fading fires of the still burning wreck of the 
railway bridge. The whole structure is down, and the 
huge beams lying like fiery serpents on the river's 
surface, now smouldering in red sullen fires, then 
up-leaping in tiny flickering tongues of blue flame, 
licking round and feeding upon every remnant that 
remains of the bridge that only at noon had stood 
proud and strong against the sky, its iron limbs 
spanning the dark water. It had been supported by 
twelve brick pillars, which are still left standing ; each 
one wearing its crown of jewelled flames, burning in 
lurid flashes, like altars of the Eastern fire- worshippers, 
or beacon lights at sea, showing the gloomy gaps 



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32 Down South. 

between, whence the burning masses had fallen into 
the sea. These colossal pillars blazing in the darkness, 
between the sable shadows of the river, and the 
naoonless midnight of the sky, threw a light bright 
as the brightest day around us. On both banks of 
the broad river, before and behind us, rise the gaunt 
ruins that were prosperous factories in the morning, 
now mere blackened shells, yet picturesque and radiant 
in the soft golden ruddy glow of the beautiful cruel 
flames, that still lick and twist serpent-like in and 
out of the empty window frames. Successful common- 
place prosperity at noon, they are transfigured into 
resplendent ruin at night. Well, the train awaited 
us on the opposite side, and there the owners of the 
destroyed property were already talking together, 
planning the rebuilding of their factories with im- 
provements ; wasting no words in useless regrets ; 
they were scheming, and in their mind's eye recon- 
structing the works, while the ruins still smouldered 
before their eyes. 

The road to Western Virginia leads through some 
of the most beautiful scenery of the south. Lying 
near, and around us, are soft swelling hills and un- 
dulating valleys, with here and there dark pine woods, 
grouped in sombre masses ; their branches standing 
out stiff and grim, like serried ranks of swords, 
pricking the skies — a standing army of nature's wild 
recruits rooted to her breast, their only warfare being 



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The Shenandoah Valley. 33 

carried on with the ragiDg elements, when the storm 
king comes crashing down from the distant mountains 
in a whirlwind of raging wrath, and armed with the 
invisible horrors of the air hurls itself upon the wood- 
land kings, tearing their stiffened limbs, wrenching 
and twisting their tall straight trunks, and leaving 
them a shapeless shivering mass upon the ground, 
broken like a gallant army, but not vanquished ; the 
earth still holds them fast, wrapping her soft moss 
about their bleeding wounds, fanning them with sweet 
airs, and lifting them up again to flourish in the face 
of the sun. Here and there broad bands of the silver 
stream sandal the foothills, and lace the ragged fringes 
of the earth together. We look round on a wide 
panoramic view of variegated green, where hill and 
valley, wooded knolls and rocky ridges, frowning 
forests and smiling meadows, are blended in one 
harmonious whole, and a soft hazy atmosphere lies 
like a heavenly mystery over all. The view is 
bounded and shut in by the lofty range of the Blue 
Ridge Mountains. Winding slowly and almost by 
imperceptible gradations downwards, we soon reach 
the beautiful Shenandoah valley, en route for the 
wonderful cave of *' Luray," which lies in the centre 
of Page county. 

The earth's surface here and for miles round is 
rugged and broken, as though by some great upheaval 
centuries ago ; huge grey boulders are lying in all 

D 



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34 Down South, 

directions, as though some ancient Titan had flung 
them down in sport. Giant rocks, the work of the 
great sculptor Nature, lie in folded ridges, their stony- 
draperies falling about them in massive magnificence 
that is beyond the reach of art. Eivulets of living 
water trickle down their gaping sides, and gather, 
and swell, and flow through darkened chasms half 
hidden from the light of the sun, playing an everlasting 
game of hide and seek, then rushing forth sparkling 
and laughing in its light. 

Eastward about a mile from the pretty village of 
Luray, and partially screened by the dense thickets 
which crown the hilltops, there exists an extensive 
cave. Concerning its first discovery, many years ago, 
tradition tells an interesting story, indicating a man 
named Kufiner as its first discoverer. He with his 
family, it is said, was among the first settlers in the 
valley below, and one day he went out on a hunting 
expedition and never returned. After a search of 
many weeks, his gun was found at the entrance to 
the cave, and in due time he was discovered, having 
wandered among its labyrinthine courts and passages 
till he was lost and dead of starvation. From this 
event it was called " Eufiher's " cave, and is so printed 
on the maps both of that period and since. Little 
interest, however, attached to the cave, and for a time 
it seemed to have passed from the memory of man, 
and remained neglected and hidden away in the heart 



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A Discovery. 35 

of the mountain until the summer of 1878, when a 
number of gentlemen formed themselves into a company 
not only for the more complete exploration of the old 
cave, but for a regularly organised search for new 
wonders. They hoped to discover even a more 
extensive cave, which from their geological survey 
they believed to exist in the neighbourhood. They 
ranged the hillside, penetrated dense thickets and 
tangled woods ; crept and groped under rocky 
ledges — first taking care to rout the brood of rattle- 
snakes from their slimy bed, and hunting the 
frightened foxes from their burrows under the ground, 
where for age^ they had lived in savage security — but 
for many weeks their search was in vain. However, 
on returning one evening, exhausted and disheartened, 
along the northern side of the hill, they observed a 
suspicious looking hollow choked up with straggling 
bushes, loose stones, weeds, and rubbish of all kinds, 
the accumulation of years. They set to work at day- 
dawn, clearing away the tangled brushwood, tossing 
out the loose stones, and plunging deeper and deeper 
into the dark abyss, till they felt a rush of cool air 
creeping up through the broken earth, and after a few 
hours' laborious endeavour they found themselves in 
a lofty passage^ which formed a kind of antechamber 
to a vast palace of wonder which had been building 
since the world began. Thus was the Luray cave 
discovered ; but it is only during the last year that it 

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36 Down South. 

has been rendered accessible to the public. Nature 
hides her most beautiful secrets so closely within her 
breast, and surrounds them with so many mysteries, 
that art and labour, hand in hand, must come to the 
fore before they can become the property of the 
world outside. 

Surely Aladdin's magical lamp never lighted up such 
jewelled wonders as are to be beheld here 1 Here are 
halls and corridors, stairways and galleries, chasms and 
bridges, built or hollowed out with a weird architectural 
magnificence wonderful to behold. We stand in the 
spacious nave of the cathedral, and gaze at its groined 
and glittering roof, and Gothic columns of many- 
coloured stalactite. The utter silence (which never 
exists in the outer world, where there is always the 
whirr of invisible insects, the stir of leaves, the 
whispering of grasses, and a thousand other nameless 
sounds) here is supremely impressive ; the air, laden 
with solemn stillness, lies heavy and close round us. 
We listen for the roll of some hidden organ to fill the 
darkening shadows with music, and tempt us to fall 
upon our knees in worship of the Great Unknown. 
We pass through a narrow jagged passage full of 
grotesque shapes and caricatures of things real and 
unreal, till we come ,to a damp, low-roofed open- 
ing called the bridal chamber, which is profusely 
ornamented with fantastic formations of crystalline 
rock It is said, I don't know how truthfully, that some 



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The Cave of Luray. 37 

benighted imbeciles have akeady been married on this 
spot. The roof is everywhere supported by hundreds 
of columns of various gradations of colour and size, 
from a thin walking cane to the grand pillar in the 
'' giant's hall/' which is nearly twenty feet in circum- 
ference, and is ribbed and rugged like the bark of a 
tree. A curious feature in this particular cave is the 
profusion of thin icicles — I do not know by what other 
name to call them ; it seems as though threads of ice 
had been woven together in a veil of frost work un- 
known to decorative art. They hang from the edges, 
and drape the walls in falling folds like a tapestry 
curtain ; they droop in graceful folds before Diana's 
bath, and are drawn round the couch of the " sleeping 
beauty" — for a symmetrical form that is almost human 
lies shrouded in ice beneath it. Fancy has found 
some appropriate name for every nook and comer, 
form and figure, of this underground world. However 
fantastic these stalactite embellishments may be they 
are never inharmonious, one thing never seems out of 
keeping with another. Here we may gather to our- 
selves lessons of loveliness, and the mysterious 
mingling of the beautiful in form and colour that 
sestheticism tries in vain to teach. 

We wander through the " garden," and gaze round 
with still greater amazement upon the gorgeous 
colouring and delicate formation of these stalactite 
flowers, so airy and fragile ; they look as though a 



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38 Down South. 

breath would wither them, yet they have been in 
bloom for ages, and will bloom on for ages more. The 
grey stone is covered with this growth of glassy 
flowers, with quivering petals of pink and violet and 
white. We are inclined to smell them, scarce believing 
they are cold and scentless. Presently we come upon 
a glacial forest scene, where the fluted columns, 
uprising like knotted trunks of trees, spread their thin, 
brittle branches till we fancy we see them quivering 
in the still air. Let fancy take the bit in her mouth 
and run away with our reason, and we shall believe 
we are standing amid a spectral group of ancient 
willow and elm trees which have perished from the 
upper world, and live out their frozen life of ages here 
below. Here and there a tiny rill of water trickles 
like a silver thread down among the folded draperies, 
till it is lost among the fretted frostwork below. Then 
crossing a rude stony balcony we look down into a 
wide, deep chasm, which yawns beneath our feet, and 
it is not difficult for the imagination to evolve the 
njost uncanny creatures of weird, unearthly forms 
from the depths of darkness which the magnesium 
lights illuminate but cannot penetrate. 

At last we come up from those vast underground 
realms to the light of the living sun, awestruck and 
impressed with the wonders thereof. While we are 
carrying out our small human lives, taxing our intellect, 
our imagination and our skill to build up vast edifices 



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Not Made by Hands. 39 

of brick and stone on this outer earth, which in a few 
short years must crumble away, an unknown and 
invisible world is being slowly perfected beneath our 
feet — a world not made by hands — every touch and 
tint the work of a passing age ; silently and slowly 
the viewless workers labour on, under the land and 
under the sea, while cycles and ages pass ! Will not 
this outer crust whereon we live slowly crack like a 
shell, and one day fall away, and leave a world such 
as the Revelation tells of, whose jewelled palaces are 
of silver and gold, the glory and wonder whereof this 
world knoweth not ! We feel as though we had stood 
on the outermost edge and caught a glimpse of the 
wonder-land where nature is working her will in 
silence and darkness. 

Some of the most picturesque and sublime scenery 
of the South may be found in the regions of Western 
Virginia, where nature in her wildest mood holds 
sovereign sway among her everlasting hills, clothed 
with majestic woods running down to the narrow 
valleys and winding lands which intersect the moun- 
tains. Here in these solitudes, scattered through 
these lonely regions, live a primitive people, leading a 
primitive life. 

They are supposed to be the descendants of the 
Irish and Scotch who came over to this country about 
two hundred years ago, and wandered on and on till 
they reached these solitudes and then settled down in 



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40 Down South. 

sparse and scattered groups far apart, not in villages 
but in single families, where they have been living 
undisturbed through all these changing years, marry- 
ing and intermarrying with some kind of ceremony 
peculiar to themselves, from generation to generation. 
Children have been born, grown to be old men^ 
and died, having never passed out from their own 
solitary homes. 

They hold no communion with the outer world ; 
no " iron horse " steams through their solitudes, and 
few and far between indeed are the travelfers who 
invade their wilderness. Even with each other their 
communication is scarce and scant — their nearest 
neighbour may be residing from five to twenty miles 
away ; visiting is therefore a rather difficult process, 
especially as there are no roads leading from one place 
to another. People have to find their way,. or rather 
make their way, over the rough, stony mountain, and 
through the tangled woods, wading through brooks 
and leaping across dangerous chasms before they can 
enjoy the luxury of looking on a human face I These 
poor people can neither read nor write, they have no 
means of learning to do either; they are beyond 
the reach of the school-board, without the pale of 
civilisation. There are no schools, no books, no 
newspapers, no post, no highroads, no church, no law 
but what their own untaught nature lays down ; no 
religion save that which they evolve from the mystery 



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White Savages. 41 

of their own being — for even in the most savage, un- 
tutored breast, a still small voice is always whispering 
speculations as to the unknown from the beginning 
to the end and after. They build their own log huts 
(some of which are in the last stage of dilapidation) 
and make their ow^n rough furniture. Having cleared 
as much land as they want, they grow patches of 
corn, cabbages, and such like ; nuts, fruits and sorrel, 
and other kinds of green stuflF which they use for 
food all grow plentifully in these uncultivated 
lands. Some own a cow and a few fowls, and wild 
hogs are numerous enough to supply them with all 
they need of animal food. 

In all this region cotton grows abundantly, and 
they weave their own clothes, the old spindle of two 
hundred years ago being still in use among them. 
The men wear shoes — when they can get them — all 
the year round ; but the women go barefoot except in 
the winter time and during the inclement season, when 
the streams are turned to frozen ice, and the earth is 
shrouded in thick snow. It is the women who do the 
outdoor work, while their lords and masters, following 
the example of savage Indian tribes, stay by the fire- 
side and smoke their pipes. Occasionally, once in a 
year or two, some one of this scattered community 
will load his mule and fill his cart with different 
commodities of his own and his neighbour s and make 
a pilgrimage to the nearest town — which may be a 



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42 Down South. 

hundred miles oflf or more — and sell or exchange them 
for such necessaries as they require, and with which 
they cannot supply themselves. The existence of 
these primitive people is very well known to such 
travellers as from time to time have penetrated these 
solitudes ; but this state of things will not be allowed 
to remain long unchanged ; the spirit of progress is 
abroad, and is already making a subtle and invisible 
progress even among these primeval solitudes. 

Some three or four years ago a solitary gentleman 
of engineering proclivities started on a voyage of 
discovery through these desolate regions, and after 
long wanderings and many disappointments fell 
figuratively upon his feet at last, and after a patient 
investigation of certain localities came to the conclusion 
that some of nature's rich resources were hidden away 
in the heart of these mountains. Having once con- 
vinced himself of this truth he returned to civilisa- 
tion, and with little difficulty organised a company, 
and in the course of a few months returned with a 
staff* of engineers and workers necessary for the full 
development and carrying out of his design. The 
shaft was sunk, the mine is now in full working order, 
and promises to be a great success. 

Meanwhile there have been many and great difficul- 
ties to be overcome in the suspicious ignorance and 
sturdy opposition of these, the original inhabitants of 
the soil, who regard the new order of things with evil 



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A Hostile Community. 43 

eyes, and watch with ill-disguised dissatisfaction, and 
low, muttered threats that the invasion of their 
privacy shall be paid for by the lives of their invaders, 
who, however, go steadily on with their work with a 
fearless determination to carry it through in spite of 
the opposition of this hostile community. 

The new comers associated with the old inhabitants, 
whenever occasion served, in a frank, friendly fashion, 
endeavouring to convince them that any act of violence 
on their part would be followed by speedy punishment 
and the total expulsion of the whole scattered com- 
munity from the soil where they had become rooted 
for generations past. But in vain they tried to per- 
suade them that the new order of things would be for 
their benefit, and would bring them into connection 
with the great world, giving to them and to their 
children an opportunity of rising and improving 
their condition. They have no ambition, and being 
utterly unconscious of their ignorance are content 
therewith. They don't know anything nor * don't 
want to know anything ; they have many curious 
traditions circulating among them, descending from 
father to son, and growing and deepening in wonder 
by the way. They are full too of strange superstitions, 
as a people living so utterly apart from the rest of 
the world, lost in the speculations and mystery of their 
own lonely lives would naturally be ; they may have 
a kind of dreamy conviction that somewhere across 



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44 Down South. 

the mountains the inhabitants boil and eat brown 
babies, and, if occasion serves, are in no ways loth to 
indulge surreptitiously in the luxury of a fine fat 
white boy I 

However, they are day by day getting more recon- 
ciled to the presence of their civilised brethren, who 
by general tact and little helpful kindnesses have 
won their toleration and good will. Though they 
stiU stand aloof and watch the progress of afiairs 
with curious eyes, they give no assistance and offer 
no opposition. 

Meanwhile public attention having been called to 
the existence of the valuable mines throughout these 
districts, the construction of a railway is under con- 
sideration ; and if the projected undertaking be carried 
out villages and towns will spring up like magic in 
these untrodden wilds, the echoes of life and labour 
resound through the now silent solitudes, and the 
flood of a new strong life will burst among these 
wandering weaklings of humanity, and either absorb 
them into their own strength, or drive to still deeper 
and farther solitary wilds the white savages of Wise 
County. 



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CHAPTER IV. 

Through the great swamp. — Charleston. — A memory of the old 
world. — Blacks and whites. — Peculiarities of the coloured 
folk. — A ghost of dead days. — Quaint scenes. 

After much loitering and a keen enjoyment of the 
wilder beauties of Virginia we start on our way to 
Charleston, one of the oldest historic cities in America, 
and doubly interesting to us from its connection with 
the old colonial day, when the British flag fluttered 
over the inhabitants, and the stars and stripes were 
things of the future. 

Our way lies through wide stretches of uncultivated 
lands, dotted here and there by negro huts with black 
babies and pigs tumbling together in the mire. In 
the course of a few hours we emerge from these 
uninteresting wilds, and are running through the 
great swamps which extend for miles along either 
side of our iron road, and are strictly impassable for 
either man or beast, though it is said that hundreds 
of poor human creatures in the old days chafed and 
fretted and grew discontented with theii: condition 



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46 Down South. 

of Kfe, and in their foolish endeavour to escape from 
it were lost in these wilds. Who knows what cries 
to God for help and mercy have gone up from the 
inner gloom of these dismal swamps? — cries that 
perhaps the angels heard and came down from heaven 
to answer. 

Although we are journeying through perfectly flat 
country, with never an undulating wave of land in 
sight, the scenery is ever changing, and never presents 
the same picture to the eye for two minutes together. 
There is, of course a certain monotony in the character 
of the natural pageant that is gliding past us, but the 
combinations vary both in form and colour, now 
advancing, now receding as we flash past them ; the 
air is full of light, and queer-looking grey birds rise 
up and wheel in eddying circles over our heads, 
flapping their wings, and uttering strange cries, 
which our engine's voice has not strength enough 
to smother. 

The idea of a swamp had always presented itself to 
our mind's eye as a vast expanse of shiny, slushy soil, 
half mud, half water, with here and there a rank 
undergrowth of bushes and stiflf grass, and briers, 
through which it must be a melancholy task to travel, 
— but it is not so. In travelling through these swampy 
regions the prospect is neither a dull nor an uninterest- 
ing one ; whole forests of grand old trees rise up from 
the watery waste, the rich varied foliage growing so 



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The Kings of the Forest. 47 

luxuriantly, and in such impenetrable masses that 
scarce a ray of sunshine comes glinting through. 
We feel as though by some strange accident we have 
been caught up by some modern magician, clothed in 
steel with a heart of iron, and whirled along through 
the forest primeval. 

For hours, nay, for the whole day long we speed 
through this world of green, now and again the great 
trees turning their. leafy arms into a perfect arch 
above our heads, as we go thundering on. 

Some of our fellow travellers go to sleep, others 
yawn over a book which they have not energy enough 
to read, some get out the cards and play poker or 
^carU^ according as the spirit of gambling moves 
them ; we hear murmured complaints, ** There is 
nothing to see," and *' What a horribly monotonous 
journey." 

But to us it is not monotonous ; there is life and 
beauty in the ever-changing lights and shadows of 
the forest, sometimes most Rembrandt-like in their 
depth and dim obscurity; in the dainty colouring 
of the leaves, and the many strange formations of 
these ancient kings of the forest, standing in deep 
rank and file, sentinels and guardians of the silent 
land, their green heads lifted to the skies, their 
gnarled and knotted feet firmly planted on the earth 
below. We wonder are they quite dumb and speechless ? 
Deaf to the low whispering of the wind, stirred only 



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48 Down South. 

to a gentle rustle by its balmy breath ? Who knows ? 
What to us is the mere soughing of the wind may be 
to them a living language coming straight down from 
the Great Unknown, with a message cheering them in 
their solitude here with a promise of a hereafter, when 
they shall bloom in paradise, and angels walk and 
talk beneath their leafy shade. They seem so lonely 
here ; they have never heard the sound of a human 
voice ; no foot has ever strayed among their fallen 
leaves, no lovers' voices made sweet music in the 
night, no childish babble echoed through their bended 
boughs. 

We are still lost in contemplation, with our thoughts 
wandering through the soft luxuriant beauty of this 
forest land, when we slowly emerge from its density 
into the open country. The landscape changes, widens, 
— Charleston is in sight ! In a few minutes the cling- 
clanging of the engine bell tells us we are nearing 
the station — another moment, and we are there. 

It is evening now, the lamps are lighted, and but 
a few scattered groups are making their way home- 
ward through the quiet streets, for they keep early 
hours in Charleston, and by ten o'clock all decent 
folk are at home in their beds. 

The gloomy grandeur of the " Charleston House " 
— and it is really a handsome stone building — attracts 
us not ; we stop at the " Pavilion," a pretty home- 
like hotel with a verandahed front, and balcony filled 



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Old Slave Quarters. 49 

with evergreens and flowers, on the opposite corner 
of Meeting Street. Our room has the usual regulation 
furniture, without any pretensions to luxury — clean, 
comfortable beds, chilly-looking marble-topped tables, 
and the inevitable rocking chairs, without which the 
humblest home would be incomplete. We go to bed 
and sleep soundly after our twenty-four hours' run. 

Within all was bright and pleasant enough, but 
without the prospect was anything but cheering. 
Our windows opened upon a dingy courtyard, sur- 
rounded on three sides by dilapidated buildings two 
stories high ; the rickety doors hung loosely on 
their rusty hinges, the windows were broken or 
patched with paper or old rags, and the Venetian 
blinds swung outside in a miserably crippled con- 
ditions—all awry and crooked, every lath splintered 
or broken, the paint was worn off" in rain-stained 
patches everyivhere, and the woodwork was worm- 
eaten and rotten. The place had altogether a mis- 
erable appearance, as though the ghost of the old 
dead days was haunting and brooding over it in 
the poverty of the present. It seemed to be de- 
serted too, for as we looked out upon it in the light 
of the early morning, we heard no sound, nor saw 
a human creature anywhere. 

We learned afterwards that these had been the 
original slave quarters, and are still occupied by the 
same inhabitants — ^the freedmen of to-cjay, the slaves 
of yesterday, in many cases still serving their old 

£ 



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50 Down South. 

masters in the old way. The servants of the hotel, 
waiters, chambermaids, etc, are all coloured, or rather 
coal-black ; for as we go farther South the mixed 
breeds are more rarely to be met with ; it is only here 
and there we come across the mulatto or others of 
mixed blood, which is rather a surprise to us, for we 
expected the half breeds greatly to outnumber the 
original race. 

In Charleston two thirds of the population are 
black, and almost without exception in all Southern 
cities they largely preponderate over the whites, 
whose superiority they tacitly acknowledge, and work 
under their direction with amiable contentment. 

Their inherent respect for the white race is exem- 
plified in many ways, especially in the small matters 
of everyday life. In many of the coloured churches 
they have white preachers, and these are always the 
most popular. One old *^ mammy," who had nursed 
a friend of mine forty years ago, and who still 
occupies her old position in the same family, is accus- 
tomed to walk three miles to and from church, though 
she is over seventy years of age. On her mistress 
inquiring why she went so far, when one of her own 
people held service close by, " Fse no sit under no 
nigger preacher I " said the old woman, shaking her 
head contemptuously. 

This kind of feeling penetrates even into the 
nursery. The dark nurse will be most devoted to 



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White and Black. 51 

the white baby, while she utterly neglects her own, — 
hence the great mortality among the dusky brood, 
which, comparatively, more than doubles that of the 
whites. An attempt to secure the services of a young 
coloured girl for an infant of her own race (whose 
mother was nursing a white child) was met with the 
scornful answer, " Fse no tend no nigger babies,'' 
the girl herself being black as coal ! 

It is the same in the schools, for though both 
white and coloured pass exactly the same exam- 
inations, they will not send their children to be 
taught by their own people. The rank and file of 
teachers may be coloured, but they must be led, and 
in all their duties superintended, by the whites ! Woe 
be to the coloured teacher who dares to put a naughty 
Topsy in the corner 1 The maternal virago swoops 
down upon her with direst outcries, and lays her 
case before the authorities with as much solemnity as 
could be used in the court-martial of a refractory 
colonel. 

The master mechanics, builders, carpenters, black- 
smiths, etc., are generally white, while the journeymen 
and labourers are coloured ; it is the same with the 
shopkeepers and small traders, their employes 
being of the opposite race. 

The great drawback in the labour market throughout 
the Southern States is the uncertainty of the labour 
•supply. The blacks as a rule are excellent mechanics, 

£ 2 



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52 Down South. 

but they will not work well unless under strict super- 
vision, and they will only work while necessity 
demands they should. They have no sense of the 
responsibility which rests upon their employer, and 
cannot see that their idle self-indulgence must result 
in his ruin and ultimately in their own. So soon as 
they have earned a few dollars they enjoy a spell of 
idleness till they have eaten them up, and then go to 
work for more; but this peculiarity is not con- 
fined to the dark race. They are a good-natured and 
simple, but shiftless and utterly irresponsible, people ; 
to-day is all ; they apply the scriptural text literally, 
and " take no thought of to-morrow." Gay, 
thoughtless, fond of pleasure and every kind of self- 
indulgence, and having led for generations past a 
life of dependence on the will and direction of others, 
they can exercise no discretion of their own ; they are 
mere machines to be set in motion by the master 
hand. Generations must pass before they can learn 
the lesson of self-government, and be led to feel that 
their own prosperity must be the outcome of their 
co-operation with the prosperity of others. I speak 
of the general character of the people ; of course 
there are exceptions to this rule, and many of 
them. Education is doing its work slowly but 
surely ; there are schools everywhere, where they 
receive exactly the same training as the whites, and 



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Dolce far Niente. 53 

consequently the coloured population of to-day is a 
great advance on the enslaved race of twenty years ago. 

We spend our first day in Charleston in a rambling 
promenade through the city, so gathering a general 
view of the whole before we take the special points 
of interest. 

It is a bright sunny day, with a cool fresh breeze 
blowing, not at all the sort of weather we ought to 
have considering the season ; instead of the hot sun 
blazing and burning in vindication of its Southern 
character, compelling us to creep along every inch of 
shade, and melting us even then, it simply looks 
down upon us with a kind, genial eye, occasionally 
winking and playing bo-peep with the woolly white 
clouds which come sailing across the azure sky, and 
the balmy breath of the wind is sufficiently cool to 
render our wraps not only comfortable but absolutely 
necessary. 

Before we have gone many steps on our way we 
come upon a pleasant party of some half dozen 
negroes, sitting on a fence like a gathering of black 
crows, each one whittling a stick and chewing 
tobacco in solemn silence — not the silence of thought, 
but the silence of emptiness, their great shining 
eyes staring at nothing, thinking of nothing, like 
lazy cattle basking in the sunshine in supreme 
idleness. 

On returning some hours later, we find them in 



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54 Down South. 

exactly the same place, whittling the same stick and 
chewing the same quid ; they do not seem to have 
stirred an inch. In odd nooks and corners, entangled 
in the ragged edges of the city, we come upon similar 
groups, and I believe if we had returned in six days 
instead of six hours we should have found them in 
precisely the same condition. 

The aspect Charleston presents at the first glance 
to the stranger's eye is impressive in the extreme ; 
apart from the historical and romantic interest which 
clings to the place, it has a character peculiarly its 
own, and bears slight resemblance to any other city 
we have seen. It seems to have stood still during 
the last century, and is strictly conservative in its 
appearance and in its ways. 

Quaintly tangled streets and alleys cling to the 
main thoroughfares, running up and down, in and 
out, in a sort of thread-my-grandmother's-needle 
fashion ; making a loop here, tying themselves into 
knots there, and resolving themselves into a perfect 
puzzle which the pedestrian has hard matter to piece 
together with his weary feet. 

The houses in these out-of-the-way parts of the 
town are old-fashioned, odd-looking places, some 
so crippled in their lower limbs as to need the 
support of strong oaken beams, or patches of bricks 
and mortar ; some are rickety in their upper stories, 
and lean affectionately on one side so as to support 



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Suburbs of Charleston. 55 

themselves on the strength of their neighbours, as 
weaker human creatures are apt to do. Everything 
seems pining for a fresh coat of paint ; but they do 
their best to conceal their need of it, covering them- 
selves with creeping plants or tawdry hangings, 
hiding their discolorations and bruises with gor- 
geous hued flowers, and clasping their green mantle 
round them as we may have seen an aristocratic 
beggar draw his robe across his breast to hide his 
rags and tatters. Occasionally, in some obscure 
corner of the city, we come upon a rambling old 
mansion of quaint, picturesque architecture, once the 
home of refinement and wealth, where the great 
ones of the country lived in a state of ease, luxury, 
and almost feudal splendour. It is occupied now by 
hosts of coloured folk ; swarms of black babies crowd 
the verandahs or climb and tumble about the steps 
and passages, while the dilapidated balconies are 
filled with lines of clothes to dry ; the negro smokes 
his pipe beneath the eaves, and the women folk, with 
their heads turbanned in gay-coloured handkerchiefs, 
laugh and chatter from the windows and lounge in 
the doorways. How long ago is it since the clank 
of the cavaliers' spurs rang upon the crumbling 
pavement, and sweet ladies with their pretty patched 
faces laughed from the verandahs, while merry voices 
and music and hospitality echoed from the now 
dingy, time -dishonoured halls, and stately dames in 



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56 Down South. 

the decorous dress and manners of the old days 
walked to and fro, adding by their gracious presence 
to the attraction of the festive scene ? But these 
good old days are over ; no imperious dames, in stiff 
brocades and jewelled slippers, pace the wide corridors, 
or dance the graceful minuet upon the floor ; there 
is no sound of flute and tabor now, but the many 
sounding notes of labour, the tramp of busy hives 
of working men and women, and the plaintive voices 
of the negroes singing is heard instead of it, and 
who shall say which makes the better music ? 

It was on the balcony of one of those houses 
Jane Elliot stood to see her lover, William Washing- 
ton, march past with his cavalry regiment on their 
way to the war, more than a century ago. Drums 
beat and bugles sounded, and as the gallant men 
marched on she observed they had no flag ! For a 
few brief moments they halted beneath her window 
while with her own hands she tore the crimson 
brocade back from one of her drawing-room chairs, 
and improvised a banner, which they triumphantly 
bore away, marching double quick time to the tune 
their hearts were playing. 

Years after, in 1827, when she was widowed and 
old and grey, she stood on the same spot and gave 
this, her dead husband's battle banner, to the 
Washington light infantry of Charleston. It is now 
held by them almost as a sacred relic, and is only 



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The Carolina of 1763. 57 

carried on days of grand parade or other special 
occasions. We may catch a glimpse of life as it 
was in this Charleston of old times from a writer 
in 1763, who says: — 

" The inhabitants of this Carolina province are 
generally of a good stature and well made, with 
lively and agreeable countenances. The personal 
qualities of the ladies are much to their credit and 
advantage ; they are genteel and slender, they have 
fair complexions — without the aid of art — and regu- 
lar, refined features, their manners are easy and 
natural, their eyes sparkling and enchantingly sweet. 
They are fond of dancing ; many sing well, and play 
upon the harpsichord and guitar with great skill. 
In summer riding on horseback or in carriages — 
which few are without — is greatly practised. In the 
autumn, winter, and spring, there is variety and 
plenty of game for the gun or dogs ; and the 
gentlemen are by no means backward in the chase. 
During the season, once in two weeks, there is a 
dancing assembly in Charleston, where there is always 
a brilliant appearance of lovely and well dressed 
women : we have likewise a genteel playhouse, where 
a very tolerable set of actors, called * The American 
Company of Comedians,' exhibit. Concerts of in- 
strumental music are frequently performed by gentle- 
men. Madeira wine and punch are the common 
drinks of the inhabitants, but few gentlemen are 



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58 Down South. 

without claxet, port, Lisbon, and other wines of 
Spanish, French, or Portugal vintages. The ladies 
are very temperate, and only drink water, which in 
Charleston is very unwholesome. There are about 
1,100 houses in the town, some of wood, some of 
brick ; many of them have a genteel appearance, 
though generally encumbered with balconies or 
piazzas, and are all most luxuriously furnished. The 
apartments are arranged for coolness, which is very 
necessary." 

Charleston, as I have said before, is strictly con- 
servative in its principles, and in many respects is 
much the same to-day as it was then. In spite of 
all its reverses — the internal struggles of the Cavaliers 
and Puritans, who brought hither their old quarrels 
and prejudices along with their household gods, 
from over the sea, its strife with the Indians, its 
troubles during the British occupation, and its terrible 
disasters during the late four years' conflict — it still 
retains many of its old characteristics ; its features 
are the same, though cruelly scarred with the 
flames and sword of war. We pass on our way 
through Meeting Street, one ©f the chief thorough- 
fares of the city ; it is a long, straight, not over wide, 
shady street, with beautiful trees on either side, 
and has a look of almost cloistered quiet about it. 
There are several handsome churches embosomed in 
bowers of green, and the ruins of an ancient 



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Echoes of the Past. 59 

cathedral, which was burned by accident more than 
twenty years ago ; they point this out as proudly, 
and cherish it as fondly, as though it were a 
legitimate ruin, a wreck that old time had left upon 
their shores. 

The long stretch of houses on either side are not 
of any specially varied or picturesque style of archi- 
tecture ; they are three stories high, and have a 
rather curious appearance, as they turn their backs 
upon the streets, or rather stand sideways like pews 
in a church, their fronts facing seaward, to catch 
the cool sea breeze which blows down from the 
battery above. The three-storied piazzas running 
round every house, the green Venetians wholly 
or partly closed, not a soul in sight, either from 
within or without, give an appearance of almost 
oriental seclusion to the place ; one half expects to 
see some dark, laughing beauty peeping out from 
among the flowers. The dear old city is full of 
romance and beauty everywhere, and as we pass* 
through the silent street — silent, yet speaking with 
an eloquence that surpasses speech — the ghost of 
the dead days seems marching with muffled feet 
beside us, and the very stones seem to have a story 
to tell. We feel as though we have fallen upon an 
enchanted land, where time is standing still, and 
the years have grown grey with watching. Here 
and there we come upon a large empty mansion, 



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60 Down South. 

one of the grand dwellings of old colonial days, 
whence the tenants have been driven by adverse 
circumstances ; it stands staring down upon the 
street with blank, glassy eyes, perhaps with a rent 
in its side, and its face bruised and battered, its 
discoloured, painted skin peeling oflF, and slowly 
rotting. People have neither time nor money to re- 
habilitate these ancient mansions ; they must needs 
be deserted by their owners, who have gone to seek 
their fortunes in the eastern cities, while the old 
homes are left to decay. 

From this pretty shady street we come out upon 
the Battery, and stand for a moment to look round 
upon the peaceful scene, and enjoy the balmy freeze 
which sweeps straight from the near Gulf Stream. 
This is a delightful promenade and pleasure ground, 
where the good Charlestonians from time imme- 
morial have come for their evening stroll, or to sit 
under the leafy shade of the scrub-oaks, gossiping 
with their neighbours. The Battery grounds front 
the land-locked bay — a sheet of crystal water about 
three miles wide — around which, and on the opposite 
side, lies a perfect garland of softly-swelling green 
islands, which stretch far away out of our sight. 
On each side, running like arms from the bay, are 
the Ashley and Cooper rivers, holding the town in 
their watery embrace. Around three sides of the 
Battery there runs an elevated promenade, raised 



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On the Battery. 61 

about two feet from the grounds, which are beauti- 
fully laid out in pretty, white shell walks, grassy 
turf, and gorgeous flower beds, while groups of fine 
old forest trees, that have heard the whispering of 
many centuries, spread their leafy branches far and 
wide. Turning their backs upon the town and 
facing this lovely land-and-water scene, stands a 
variegated collection of fine old-fashioned houses of 
quaint architecture. Some are landmarks of the old 
colonial days ; each one differs in form and colour 
from the other, but aU are fanciful structures with 
elaborate ornamentation ; some are circular, some flat 
fronted, some curving in a fantastic fashion, and 
seeming to look round the comer on their friends 
and neighbours, to assure them they are not proud 
though they have turned their backs upon them ; 
some have wide balconies of stone, some light veran- 
dahs with green Venetian blinds or graceful ironwork 
clinging to their front ; but everywhere creeping 
plants and brilliant flowers are growing. 
. The view on all sides is most picturesque and 
lovely, and the fragrant air is a delight to the senses. 
Here is the real aristocl'atic part of the city, and here 
to this day, in spite of the many freaks of fortune, the 
descendants of the old Huguenot and Cavalier families 
inhabit the homes of their ancestors, whose familiar 
names still echo on the ears of the town. With lagg- 
ing footsteps we take our way homeward through the 



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62 Down South. 

city, losing ourselves and finding ourselves more 
than once. Altogether we come to the conclusion 
that Charleston is a sober suited, gentlemanly city 
strongly impregnated with the savour of old days ; 
somewhat worn and grey, but thoroughly dignified 
^nd pleasant, full of old-world prejudices and decorum 
that no flighty tourist would care to outrage. 

We have merely glanced at the outer aspect of 
the city, to-morrow we must visit some interiors 
and the more definite features within and around 
it. As we enter our chamber after our long ramble 
we hear the sounds of merry voices, and the passing 
of people to and fro in the courtyard ; then suddenly 
amid the shouting and the laughter there rises a 
choir of voices, a hush falls everywhere — they are 
singing "The sweet by and by." We approach the 
window and look out. A group of coal-black negroes 
are sitting round one table piling up rich ripe straw- 
berries for our dessert ; close by is another party 
shelling peas. It is these groups who are singing. 
Their plaintive melancholy voices afiect us solemnly ; 
but even as the last notes are trembling on their lips 
they begin to play monkey tricks on one another, 
turning somersaults in the air, grinning from ear to 
ear, and chattering like magpies ! 



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CHAPTER V. 

St. Michael's chimes. — Architectural attraction. — Magnolia 
Cemetery. — A philosophical mendicant. — The market. — 
Aboard the boat. — Fort Sumter. 

A CLOSER acquaintance with Charleston, its surround- 
ings, and its people, deepens our first impression. 
A dignified gravity seems to be set like a seal upon 
their lives, whence all light frivolous things have 
been cast out, and replaced by high hopes and noble 
aspirations, bom of a past sorrow. There is a look 
of preoccupation on their faces, as though their 
thoughts and desires have outstripped their powers 
of action, and they are pushing the world's work 
forward that they may come up with them and 
realise the state of their holy ambitions. They 
dress sombrely, in dark neutral tints, with a quiet 
elegance and simplicity. They are as the sober 
setting to a brilliant picture, where the coloured 
folks supply the flaunting figures and gaudy colour- 
ing — the blacker they are the more gorgeous are 
their personal adornments. 



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64 Down South. 

Passing up the long shady Meeting Street, with 
its rows of tall trees on either side of it, the most 
prominent object in view is the old Church of St. 
Michael, which is a great point of interest to visitors. 
It was built more than a century and a half ago ; the 
quaint and somewhat sombre interior, with its high 
box pews, groined roof, and dainty columns is 
impressive as only such ancient places of worship 
can be. The tall, graceful, steeple towers high 
above all other spires and is a landmark for miles 
round. It has a wonderfully fine peal of bells, too, 
with a most romantic history. In 1782 when the 
British vacated Charleston they seized these bells 
and shipped them to England, considering them 
as a military perquisite. However, in the space 
of a few weeks, they were re-shipped to Charleston, 
and replaced in the belfry. In 1861 they were 
sent to Columbia for safety, and in the terrible 
conflagration which destroyed that city they were 
so much damaged by fire as to be perfectly useless. 
They were then sent once more to England to be 
recast, and, strange to say, this delicate piece of work 
was performed by the descendants of the same firm 
which made them nearly a century and a half ago ! 
They were recast from the same model, and perfected 
as nearly like the original as possible, and when 
finished were returned to Charleston, where they 
were detained in the custom-house for some time. 



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St. Michael's Chimes. 65 

the authorities being too poor to pay the duty, which 
amounted to several thousand dollars ! These public 
boards are seldom public-spirited — red tapeism seems 
to tie down their sympathies, and strangle their 
patriotism. However, after all their vicissitudes, the 
bells were reinstated in their old place, and all 
Charleston went wild with excitement when the 
musical chimes rang out once more, seeming to tell 
their story in rhythmical rhyme I And when their 
brazen tongues again clashed out upon the ears of the 
people, who knows what other tales they told, or 
what mournful memories they sent echoing through 
the city, stirring all hearts like the roll of a muffled 
drum ? 

Both within and without, St. Michael's is perhaps 
the most interesting of all the churches. Its preachers 
have always been men of note ; enrolled among them 
are many who are now world-famous. There are 
places of worship for all denominations of sinners, 
who can choose their own road, through highways or 
by-ways, from this world to the next. 

They can travel express through the mystic musical 
region of the highest of high churches, where the 
spiritual leader takes the train in hand and is answer- 
able for all accidents by the way; or they may 
wander through quiet, peaceful meadow-lands, where 
only the voice of the shepherd calls their attention to 
the tinkling bells of salvation in the distance, whose 



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66 Down Soqth. 

music will ring out clearer and sweeter as they near 
the great beyond. Indeed, people may take their 
religion in any form they please ; the means are 
abundantly supplied, from the undiluted draught of 
simple faith to the modest mixture of half-and-half 
measures, where soft music is falling, candles faintly 
burning — and always extinguished at the right 
moment — and on to the hottest, strongest spiritual 
essence, with incense burning, banners flying, and — 
why not ? — drums, fifes, and trumpets playing on the 
march to celestial glory I And no doubt the Salvation 
Army will soon come streaming from the east, laden 
with patent piety warranted to cure the most diseased 
soul, and secure a front seat in the halls of heaven in 
a single day ! — not without payment, though, for the 
*' almighty dollar" plays a prominent part in these 
spiritual proceedings. 

The many handsome churches and public buildings 
add largely to the attractions of Charleston, and 
are, to a certain extent, a reflex of the minds 
of the people. As. the descendants of old families 
concentrate their energies and their pride on their 
ancestral home, so the good Charlestonians from 
generation to generation have devoted theirs to the 
glorification of their beloved city ; and in erecting new 
buildings, public companies as well as private indivi- 
duals, instead of building according to their own 
special taste, have had some regard to that of 



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Have you been to the Cemetery ? 67 

their neighbours ; every stone has been laid thought- 
fully one upon the other, not only with regard to its 
own features, but as a part of a whole, and in perfect 
harmony with the general aspect of the city. One 
building never mars the effect of the other ; the eye 
is hurt by no incongruity of architecture, no false 
colouring, but everywhere is a pleasant blending of 
symmetrical forms and delicate tints. The effect upon 
the eye is the same as that of a perfect melody upon 
the ear — no slurred notes, no flat where a sharp 
should be, nothing jarring, no false rhythm any- 
where. 

In secluded streets as well as in the public quarter 
of many a large city the eye is often struck with 
discords in bricks and mortar, marble, or stone ; each 
structure perhaps tasteful enough in itself, but the 
effect being marred, and marring by contrast the work 
of its neighbour. 

Fancy the effect of knee-breeches and a tall 
beaver on the Apollo Belvedere, a flat nose on 
" Antinous," or a nez retrousse on the Venus of Milo ! 

The first question you are asked on entering a 
southern city is : " Have you been to the cemetery ? '' 

This is one of the chief places of interest which 
everybody is anxious to point out ; for next to the city 
of the living they cherish the city of their dead. It is 
here they come to while away their leisure hours, and 
bring the fresh flowers of every season to lay above 

F 2 



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68 Down South. 

the dust of their departed — for you seldom see an 
undecorated grave. 

The Magnolia Cemetery is about three miles from 
the city ; we pass first through a grand avenue to the 
German burial-ground, which is beautifully kept, with 
shining white walks winding among blooming flower 
beds and rare shrubberies, shaded by grand old oaks, 
clothed in their mantles of soft grey moss. Carved 
upon the headstones the solemn words " Her ruhet in 
Gott " meet the eye at every turn. Passing through 
this grave-garden, we soon come to the main entrance 
to Magnolia Cemetery ; within the massive gates a 
colossal bell is suspended from a lofty scafiblding, 
which tolls slowly as the funeral approaches ; a pretty 
Gothic chapel, where the services are held, stands to 
the left. Passing under the archway we come upon 
a few score of white wooden headstones, which stand 
like special guardians at the gates of death ; beneath 
these lie the Federal dead. Farther on lies the wide 
Confederate burial-ground ; here, side by side, and 
rank on rank, by hundreds — nay, by thousands — lie 
the soldiers of the lost cause sleeping their last sleep, 
happily unconscious of the ruin that fell on the land 
they loved before yet the grass grew over their 
graves. Few, very few, have an inscription to mark 
who rests beneath, but soft green hillocks swell in low 
waves on all sides of us ; these hide the unknown 
dead, and over them are daisies and sweet wild flowers 



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Carved in Dust. 69 

growing. Beyond these again lie the more fortunate, 
who have died at home, surrounded by friends and 
kindred, and fitly mourned in monuments of marble ; 
there are symbolical urns and broken columns, groups 
of mourning friends in every possible or impossible 
attitudes of depression ; there is a cherub blowing a 
trumpet as though striving to wake up the heavenly 
host with the news '* another recruit is coming." He 
is blowing so hard he seems to have blown himself 
out of his draperies, which are fluttering in the wind 
behind him, and weeping angels are drying their eyes 
with stony pocket-handkerchiefs, as though bemoaning 
that all the virtues of all the world lay perishing 
beneath them — at least, so says the inscription written 
there. As it always happens in the great cemeteries 
of north, south, east, and west, some of the departed 
are mourned in doggerel rhyme, some in ungram- 
matical prose. I think that many would rise up from 
their silent beds and wipe out these efiusions if they 
could; but the dead have no remedy against the 
imbecilities of the living. One feels disposed to envy 
the unknown dead whose worth is chronicled and 
memory kept green in the hearts that loved them, 
with no marble monument to point the place where 
they lie " carved in dust.*' 

Passing through this silent world, we find ourselves 
in a wide white street which runs through the Catholic 
cemetery from east to west, in the centre and at the 



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70 Down South. 

highest point of which stands a gigantic black cross. 
Cedar and ash and willow trees are growing in 
picturesque masses ; green shrubberies refresh the 
sight, and rich red and cream roses are blooming 
everjrwhere. The grave gardens here are laid out in 
various shapes and sizes — square, circular, triangular, 
&c. — like a geometrical puzzle spread over the ground. 
The simplest grave has a cross above it, sometimes of 
wood, of iron, or of stone ; the symbol of Christianity, 
as though growing out from the hearts of the sleepers, 
is lifted on all sides. 

The sun is shining, the sweet air blowing, and a 
look of serene calm and most perfect peace is smiling 
everywhere. How the vexed and troubled folk, who 
wander here to get away from th# busy, noisy world, 
must long to creep down under the roses and hide from 
this world's noisy strife, and lie beside the sleeper 
under the sod, with hands crossed, eyes closed, at rest 
for ever more. Here is a grave covered with '^ forget- 
me-nots," and a cry — a hard, cold cry — written in 
stone, craving to be " kept green in men's memories ; " 
as though the dead could hope to be remembered, 
when we who are living have to lift up our voices and 
struggle to the front that we may not be forgotten even 
while we live 1 Tall costly shafts of granite, wreathed 
with everlasting flowers, prick the skies, and elaborate 
architectural designs are erected here and there ; one 
has brass cannon at the gates and sabres crossed upon 



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A Human Ghoul. 71 

the threshold, pointing the way the sleeper took to 
his death. After wandering about for some time we 
sit down to rest under a cedar tree, luxuriating in the 
sweet scent and bright colour of the waving flower- 
beds, quite alone, as we thought, till a voice rather 
suggestive of '^ beer and skittles " came out of the 
silence : 

** Nice weather, marm ; things is sort o' springin' 
up everywheres, and some on *em is full blowed, 
ain't theyl" 

I look up ; the owner of the voice has evidently just 
sidled round from the other side of the tree. He is an 
elderly man, with a ragged beard and patched clothing 
— the forlorn and decaying remnants of military glory ; 
his face has a sodden, dissipated look, and his eyes a 
weak gin-and-watery appearance, anything but pre- 
possessing. He was not exactly a nice kind of human 
ghoul to meet in such a solitary spot. I answered 
with an assenting smile or some kind of commonplace 
cheap civility, which evidently satisfied him, for he 
edged a little nearer, adding philosophically — 

" Yes, it takes a good deal o' sunshine to set things 
a startin' out ; sometimes I think I'd as lief be lyin' 
down there in the dark as starvin' up here in the 
sunshine — leastways the sun don't always shine, not 
on me. I've been a soldier, marm," he added with a 
slightly Irish accent, " and done my duty on many 
a gory field, and — oh I a — ah ! " 



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72 Down South. 

He groaned a low guttural sort of groan — his feelings 
were evidently too much for him ; he took out a red 
cotton handkerchief, shook it out for one moment as 
though unfurling a battle flag, then buried his face in 
it and boo-hoo'd behind it till his broad shoulders 
shook with emotion. I felt embarrassed. I was not 
sure I should not have that six feet of suflfering man- 
hood in another moment grovelling at my feet ; but 
he recovered his mental equilibrium, replaced his 
handkerchief, shook his hat well forward on his 
head, and said somewhat irrelevantly but with a 
mournful intonation — 

^* 'Tain't no use tryingto cross yer fate. I've tried it, 
and it don't answer ; but one thing always puts me 
in mind of another ; n' flowers, n' trees, n' grass, n' sich- 
like strikes me jist now as oncommon like human 
natur, for the sun o' charity must shine on the 
human heart, before it will open up and give out 
the perfume from its inhuman pockets as it oughter — '' 
There was a momentary and suspicious silence on 
my part; then my ragged and somewhat poetic 
philosopher added insinuatingly, "Yer don't happen 
to hev a stray quarter hanging about yer clo'es 
anywheres ? 'cause a sight of it would do me a deal 
o' good." 

This ancient sinner wheedled the quarter out of 
my " clo'es," and fearing lest he might move up 
his guns for another attack I got up and walked 



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A Clean Bill of Health. 73 

away a poorer and wiser woman, ^ resolved never 
again to become the prey of a hoary impostor, but 
to fly from the first wag of his tongue as from the 
first clash of the tail of a rattlesnake. 

We saunter on, and looking from the eastern point 
of Magnolia we have a magnificent panorama of the 
city and the clustering vessels afloat in the harbour, 
while stern and grim Fort Sumter looms in the 
distance ; the white sails flutter to and fro, and 
dainty vessels curtsey to their own shadows reflected 
on the placid water; not a ripple stirs its surface, 
and the sun pours down a flood of silver on this sea 
of glass, lighting up and brightening the prospect all 
around, the purple pines and low-lying forts on 
the surrounding islands forming a charming back- 
ground to the panoramic scene. 

Charleston is reported by its inhabitants (and 
surely they ought to know) to be a perfectly healthy 
city, free from epidemics of any kind ; if you dared 
to doubt it, all good Charlestonians would have you 
stoned to death on the spot. It certainly may be 
true within the limits of the city, but of its surround- 
ings the healthfulness is more than doubtful. It 
lies low, and is surrounded by marshy lands, which 
at certain seasons of the year are covered with water 
— the overflow of the two rivers, Ashley and Cooper, 
which compass it on either side. 

On returning through the suburbs from our visit 



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74 Down South. 

to the cemetery, we come upon a very handsome 
house in a solitary situation, surrounded by a some- 
what neglected garden and wide-spreading meadows. 
Leading to the entrance is an avenue of fine 
old English oaks, draped with grey Spanish moss. 
Although secluded, it has the spires and steeples and 
other prominent features of Charleston city in full 
view. It is in a state of perfect preservation, with 
no signs of dilapidation anywhere — it is simply 
deserted utterly both by man and beast. The dog 
kennels are empty, not a bird sings from the boughs, 
not even the domestic cat crouches upon the tiles 
or creeps along the weedy garden paths ; even 
the stone lions which guard the entrance look in 
a damp depressed condition, as though they too 
would be glad to get away if they only could ! 
On inquiring the cause of this desertion, I am 
answered : 

" Oh, it belongs to a vely fine family — they cleared 
out some weeks ago. They always leave in March 
and come back in October." 

" What a pity 1 It seems to me that they are away 
at the very pleasantest season." 

" But the most unhealthy ; it is impossible to live 
about here during the summer months." 

" Malaria ? " I hazard interrogatively. 

*' Worse — what we call country fever, which is 
more dangerous and often fatal. If it once gets 



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The Malaria Fiend. 75 

thoroughly into the system people die of it, or are 
sufferers for life." 

Presently we are overtaken by waggon loads of 
men, both black and white — all singing merry rollick- 
ing songs, and driving at a rapid pace towards the 
city. We draw our modest vehicle to one side as 
they rattle and clatter past us. We then learn that 
they are the factory phosphate hands, driving back to 
their homes in the city. Although the phosphate 
works are only an hour's distance from Charleston 
they are totally deserted every evening ; not a single 
living creature remains upon the premises, as it is 
injurious to breathe the poisonous air after the sun 
has set, for then the noxious vapours rise and fill 
the air with disease and death. Over the extensive 
works, where the sound of pickaxe and shovel and 
whirring wheels and human voices are echoing all 
the day, a silence falls, and the malarial fiend wanders 
through its confined space seeking, but seeking in 
vain, for some human prey to torment and kill with 
its subtle kiss. 

This lurking evil lies only in the one direction of 
the city ; on the other side and extending round the 
harbour are some delightful summer resorts, Mount 
Pleasant and Sullivan Island being among the most 
prominent, both being easily reached by a pleasant river 
trip: The Ferry Company's boats make the journey in 
about an hour, and make it many times in the day ; 



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76 Down South. 

but perhaps the loveliest of all Charleston's sur- 
roundings is Summerville, which is reached by the 
South Carolina railway. It is situated in the heart 
of the pine woods, on a ridge which extends from 
the Ashley to the Cooper river ; the climate is health- 
giving and invigorating, and in summer, though the 
days are warm, there is always a deliciously cool 
breeze in the evening, and there are no mosquitoes 
to make night horrible to the sleeper ; it is serene 
and peaceful as a corner of the original paradise. 

On our way to Fort Sumter we have to pass 
through the market, which is quite unique of its 
kind. It is a remarkably fine building in the form 
of a temple ; the front faces Meeting Street, the most 
picturesque of all Charleston thoroughfares. P,assing 
through a handsome lofty archway with a carved 
stone front and iron gates — now open, as the marketing 
operations are in full swing — we find ourselves in a 
long narrow corridor with groined roof and wide 
windows and doors on either side, where gawky, 
ill-looking buzzards are gathered, flapping their wings 
and feeding upon refuse. 

As we walk up this narrow aisle piles of rich 
luscious fruit rise to the right and the left of us ; there 
are hills of pine-apples, and yellow and red bananas, 
festoons of purple grapes, and mountains of straw- 
berries, bushels of black and white currants, pumpkins, 
and that arch impostor, the great green water-melon, 



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A Tempting Display. 77 

all artistically arranged, and forming a perfect mosaic 
of nature's own colouring — only the rough red face 
of the honest British gooseberry is nowhere to 
be seen. 

Next comes the vegetable department, where every- 
thing green looks crisp and fresh, with the diamond 
dew-drops still decorating the folded leaves, and 
everything coloured seems painted in Nature's 
brightest hues. Dainty young carrots, and tiny 
turnips, looking like baby snowballs, are nestling 
among the sedate old cabbages, whose great white 
hearts seem enlarged almost to bursting; and the 
oyster and egg plant, unknown in European markets, 
are hiding among the common but useful rough- 
coated potato ; and the delicate asparagus, with its 
purple tips and straight white stems, bound up in big 
bundles, the large and well-proportioned rallying 
round and covering up the crippled weaklings of their 
kind, and performing this manoeuvre so artfully that 
the most Argus-eyed housekeeper is sometimes taken 
in by the false pretence. The scarlet runners and 
fine marrowfat peas seem bursting out of their skins 
with joy at being gathered at last ; from the very 
moment when they first unfolded their pink and 
purple buds they have been forced to creep up and 
cling to those tormenting sticks, twisting and twining 
and working so hard, night and day, till they were 
tired of living, and would really have gone soon to 



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78 Down South. 

seed, and once more hidden themselves in their native 
earth. Now they are at rest — they don't know they 
are going to be boiled in an hour. 

Here and there we come upon a silly-looking turtle 
lying on its back, its flabby flippers wriggling feebly 
as though trying to turn over and crawl back to its 
native element. 

Next we arrive at the fish and poultry division. 
There are golden pats of butter dressed in white 
frills and ornamented with violets, which, it is said, 
impart to it a delicious fragrance and flavour ; and 
eggs from all the feathery tribe, white and brown, 
speckled and light blue, are eternally rolling over, 
trying to crack one another's shells with all their 
might. Here plump young chickens, who were un- 
fortunate enough to be born in the early spring, are 
strung up beside their tough old grandfathers ; and 
prairie hens, and other wild birds from desolate 
regions, hang with stretched necks and drooping 
wings above the slabs of white marble, where fish 
from all waters are spread in tempting array. The 
shining red mullet, and the fat ugly sheep's-head, and 
even the humble red horse, lie side by side with the 
aristocratic salmon ; and the poor little baby porker, 
slaughtered in its infancy, before it had even had 
time to wear a ring through its nose or grout in the 
gutter, is lying close by, stifi* and stark, with a lemon 
in its mouth. 



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Out for a Holiday. 79 

Framed, like a picture, by the archway at the 
opposite end of this long aisle, lie the sparkling 
waters of the bay, with the swelling green hills 
beyond, and the little wheezy vessel which is to take 
us to Fort Sumter bobbing up and down by the pier. 
The little steamer, with the stars and stripes flutter- 
ing from the masthead, is puffing and blowing and 
making a great fuss, plunging head foremost, and 
shrieking like an angry virago for us to make haste, 
as she is in a hurry to get away. 

With the fresh breeze blowing in our faces, and 
the sun shining in our eyes, as only a Southern sun 
can shine, we step on board, and in another moment 
our brisk little convoy is dancing over the water like 
a joyous child released from school ; it trembles and 
leaps like a living thing, and we almost fancy that its 
iron heart must be beating with a feeling of sentient 
enjoyment like our own. 

All kinds and conditions of men are crowded 
round us — high and low, rich and poor ; evidently we 
are all out for a holiday, and in the most perfect 
sang-froid fashion, and without the slightest cere- 
mony, everybody talks to everybody else. A lady 
from the North sits beside me, and shading her com- 
plexion from the sun, softly drones into my ear her 
whole family history, from the birth of her first baby 
to the vaccination of her last. I learn that she is 
now travelling in search of health, and cannot find 



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80 ' Down South. 

it — the farther she goes, the farther it flies from 
her. 

" And yet," she murniurs plaintively, " I know it 
must sometimes be quite near me, if I could only 
lay my hands upon it." She talked of health as 
a thing to be caught on the " hold fast " or ^^let go " 
principle. 

" It seems to be like a game of * hot boiled beans 
and butter,' " I remark somewhat flippantly, " only 
there is no one to tell you when you are growing 
'hot 'or 'cold.'" 

Why will people afflict their fellow-travellers with 
the history of their family troubles or personal 
ailments, and so indulge in a luxury which is even 
forbidden to hospital patients ! Our sympathies 
cannot be worked like a fire-engine ; it is impossible 
for the most sympathetic to pump up a sudden 
interest in Jeremiah's gout or Matilda's inward com- 
plications^ especially when there are beautiful scenes 
and delicious airs around you, which you may have 
come thousands of miles to enjoy ; but there are 
some people to whom nothing is attractive or 
interesting outside of that great ogre '' self." 

With the exception of ourselves they were all 
Americans on board — men from the East, men from 
the West ; some were- for the first time making a tour 
through their own Southern States, but east and 
west, north and south, walked up and down the deck, 



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To Fort Sumter. 81 

side by side, fraternising in the most friendly fashion, 
chatting upon passing scenes, or talking quietly one 
with another, indulging in reminiscences of that long 
long ago, when the links of brotherhood had been 
for a time broken. Close by was an old man with a 
stubbly grey beard and a mangy fur cap, that looked 
like a drowned kitten tied round his head ; he had 
gathered a few hoary-headed comrades round him, 
an'd they were talking of old days, fighting their 
battles over again, setting up their guns, and drawing 
plans upon the deck. So, as the future narrows and 
closes round us, we are driven to the past for comfort. 
Flashes of sentiment and scraps of conversation were 
floating round us, and the very air seemed impreg- 
nated with a subtle something that was new and 
strange to us. While looking round upon this pleasant 
peaceful scene, the white sails dipping and coquetting 
with their own shadow in the water, the soft green 
hills and the grim old forts beyond, all bathed in 
peaceful sunshine, it is impossible but the mind will 
travel back to the day when the air was filled with 
lurid battle smoke, and the cannon stationed all 
around the shore belched forth blazing fires, while a 
hundred hungry, angry tongues of flame leapt from 
their iron mouths. Just such a calm as this lay upon 
the city the day the first gun was fired, though the 
passions of men were brooding below like a strong 
and silent tide, which is soon to overflow and flood 

G 



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82 Down South. 

the nations. A Caxolinian poet thus describes the 
scen6, and the vivid picture is present to-day as it 
was then : — 

'' Calm as the second snmmer which precedes 

The first fall of the snow, 
In the broad sunlight of heroic deeds, 

The city hides the foe. 
As yet, behind their ramparts stem and proud. 

Her bolted thunders sleep — 
Dark Sumter, like a battlemented cloud. 

Looms o'er the solemn deep. 
No Calpe frowns from lofty cliff or scar. 

To guard the holy strand ; 
But Moultrie holds in leash the dogs of war. 

Above the level sand.'* 

We pass by " Sullivan Island," girdled by its 
beach of golden sand, with a beadwork of white foam 
embroidered in living light fringing the shore, and 
its pretty homes surrounded by lovely gardens and 
farmsteads, and tall church steeples, gleaming in the 
sunshine. We have but a distant view of Fort 
Moultrie, which is a striking feature on the low-lying 
land, but we have no time to pay it a visit, our 
hearts and our eyes too are anchored on Fort Sumter, 
and thitherward our saucy vessel turns its head, a 
crazy plank is flung to the shore, and we land at last. 
Federals and confederates, foreigners and strangers, 
saunter on together. 

There is little of the old fort standing ; it is a ruin 
now — a grim picturesque rugged ruin, almost levelled 



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EuiNS OP THE Fort. 83 

to a mound of rock and sand ; desolation, with its 
empty socketless eyes, stares from the narrow loop- 
holes, where twenty years ago there flashed the fiery 
orbs of war. We descended, or rather scrambled, 
down a flight of broken steps — it seemed we were 
going into the bowels of the earth — peeped into what 
looked like dark, narrow graves, where the men used 
to lie, smothered and half stifled, while they worked 
their guns, and living through this death in life for 
four long years, they came out of their darkness to 
the light of the sun to find their martyrdom had 
been in vain — their cause was lost. But the gates are 
closed upon all these things, and God keeps the key. 



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CHAPTER VI. 

The great Salt Marsh. — ^A break down. — ^We reach Savannah. 
— ^Fancy sketches. — ^The forest city. — ^A Gossip with the 
Natives. — Cross questions and crooked answers. 

On the sweetest of spring mornings, when the sunshine 
seems to reach down into our hearts, and the soft 
breeze stirs our pulse and sets our thoughts playing 
a jubilant melody, while our hearts sing a soft sweet 
song that the ears hear not, and that our own spirits 
can but dimly comprehend — ^we turn our back on the 
quaint old city of Charleston, and resume our journey 
South. 

Squatting about the platform of the railway station 
we find groups and whole families of negroes, or, as 
they are now more respectfully called, " coloured folk," 
— ^from the queer little black ball of a baby, to the 
withered old grandmother with a face notched and 
scarred, as though time had kept his calendar and 
scored the passing years in wrinkles, till they all run 
one into the other, and the face was made up of 
nothing else. They are dressed, as is the custom of 



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Travelling Companions. 85 

their kind, in all the colours of the rainbow, and are 
heavily laden with baskets of fish, fruit, vegetables, 
and bundles of their personal belongings, with their 
" piccaninnies " sprawling at their feet and crawling 
in and out like little black eels. We are struck with 
an idea, almost a dread, that they are going to ride 
in our car — not that we object to the colour of " God's 
image carved in ebony," but their neighbourhood is 
not odorous. 

" We has second class on dis line," said the porter, 
in answer to our inquiries, ** and dey be gwine dere ; 
dey's no company for white folk — not •clean, nor nice 
in dey's manners. Ts black myself, but I knows dem 
folk's no company for ladies and gen'Fmen." 

With much tumbling, and clutching their brood 
together, they scrambled into their appointed places, 
in a seedy-looking car adjoining ours, and we are oflF; 
the city spires and steeples fade from our view, 
and our faces are set towards Georgia. We are well 
beyond the region of the maple trees now ; but forests 
of pine and cypress, dashed here and there with the 
snow-white blossoms of the dogwood, close on all sides 
of us, except where our narrow iron path makes 
its way through them. Soon we come to an open 
clearing, where the forest trees have been cut down 
and timber huts built up; this is a wood station, 
and mountains of logs are piled on each side. Here we 
stop to feed our engine, while a diversified company 



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86 Down South. 

of wild hogs — ^gaunt, lean, hungry-looking creatures, 
all legs and heads, like swinish tramps who get their 
living in the woods— ^gather and grunt in herds almost 
under our car wheels, and goats with large families of 
youthful nannies and billies stand staring mildly in 
the background, now and then playfully butting one 
another. 

We are soon off again ; racks of wood are stationed 
at certain distances all along the line, coal being 
scarce in these localities, and wood much lighter of 
digestion. Our hungry engine insists on having four 
square meals a day, and even then grows weak and 
feeble, and demands a snack in between ; it slackens, 
and snorts, and grumbles, till the driver, often aided 
by the passengers (who seem to enjoy the fun), gets 
down and cuts a few dainty branches just to appease 
its appetite, and coax it on to the next station. 

We pass through the great salt marsh, where the 
grand old pines, rank on rank, are standing with their 
roots in pickle, and their half bald heads fringed with 
green lifted heavenwards. A bush fire has broken 
out somewhere in the distance, and the flames come 
leaping along the surface of the marsh, with a blue, 
lurid-looking light, feeding upon whatever they can 
find ; now they glide in graceful spiral lines, like fiery 
serpents round the trunk of some grand old tree, and 
leave it a charred and blackened stump. 

As the evening shadows fall we enter the cypress 



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The Cypress Swamps. 87 

swamps ; the dusky forms of the forest giants stand 
stiff and stark in the gloaming, making up a weird and 
somewhat romantic scene. Night closes in, the great 
golden moon climbs slowly into the purple skies, and 
the balmy evening air has a delicious fragrance as 
though it came from worlds unknown. But with all 
its sombre subtle charm, a cypress swamp is not 
exactly the place one would choose to break down in, 
and just here our engine, which has been crawling 
and groaning like a crippled maniac for the last half 
hour, elects to stop short. She (I believe engine 
is feminine) stops, and shows no sign of ever 
intending to move again. 

American sang-froid is difficult to disturb, but on 
this occasion the passengers deign to manifest 
some interest in the cause of the delay. They 
bombard the conductor with questions, and skir- 
mish round the engineer, sending their suggestions 
flying round his devoted head, till a peremptory 
order is given, and they are driven back into the cars 
with some loss of patience. As if by magic, a break- 
down gang is soon gathered round the engine — ^heaven 
knows where they came from, whether they dropped 
from the skies, or emerged from the bowels of the 
earth, for human habitation thereabout seemed im- 
possible, unless they had built a nest high up in the 
dark cypress boughs. 

Meanwhile various editions of the cause of our delay 



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88 Down South. 

are freely circulated. One piece of oflBcial information 
at last reaches us : The mainspring of our engine is 
broken. One reports that they are making a new one ; 
another that they are mending the old one. "No, 
they are propping it up with a piece of wood," says 
a third. " That's impossible," cries another unlicensed 
authority ; *' the idea of an engine hobbling on wooden 
legs ! " Then begins a game at speculation, and we all 
take a hand : " How long shall we be kept there ? " 
" Perhaps all night — perhaps all day ! " " Will they 
send help to us ? " " They can't, there's only a single 
line of rail, and no telegraph near." 

Then some of our fellow travellers begin to relate, 
at the top of their voices, a chapter of the worst 
iaccidents that have ever happened anywhere or to 
anybody, ending with the relation of a terrible 
catastrophe which happened only a week ago, when 
the trestle work, which runs for six miles across the 
Savannah river a little further on, gave way, and the 
whole train was precipitated into the river — " not a 
soul saved,'' adds the narrator with great gusto. 

Meanwhile everybody is getting hungry ; and buns, 
biscuits, and morsels of stale crumbly cake are fished 
up from bags or baskets. I have nothing to fish up 
from anywhere, and a good Samaritan gives me an 
orange and a piece of rye bread ; never was voluntary 
contribution more thankfully received. Presently a 
plausible youth comes along the car selling cold hard- 



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A British Growl. 89 

boiled eggs. Where he comes from, where he got, or 
how he cooked his eggs is a mystery ; but hunger 
bids us hasten to invest in his wares. Alas ! he and 
his eggs prove a delusion and a snare ! The eggs we 
throw out of the window — ^but the deceiver has 
disappeared. 

By degrees the clatter of tongues ceases; silence 
falls over us. Alligators and frogs are croaking in the 
swamps ; I don't know which croaks loudest ; their 
language seems so similar, I can hardly tell one from 
the other. Everybody regards the situation with 
irritating good temper, nobody grumbles. Are the 
true Americans ever heard to complain, I wonder ? 
They are patient, cheerful always, and stoical and 
philosophical as Ked Indians. Oh, for a good 
British growl I I lift my voice feebly once or 
twice, but am shamed into silence by the example 
of my companions. 

Presently we begin to move, and slowly as a royal 
progress we roll on towards Savannah. When we 
reach it the small hours of the morning are already 
far on the march and we go supperless to bed. On 
taking a survey of our surroundings by daylight we 
have reason to be very well satisfied with our quarters. 
We have two large sunny rooms, most comfortably 
furnished, opening on to a wide verandah overgrown 
with greenery, which is luxuriant everywhere South. 

A few words here concerning the accommodation for 



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90 Down South. 

tourists which is to be found in all Southern cities. 
On first setting our faces thitherward we received a 
mass of gratuitous information — all of which we 
accepted cum grano salis. We were neither dis- 
posed to be led nor misled by friendly counsels. 
" There are no decent hotels — nothing but ramshackle 
old buildings, mere refuges for the destitute." 

" Where you'll always find lively companionship — 
especially by night." 

" Perhaps an alligator in the morning, or a com- 
fortable moccasin or black snake coiling round your 
feet to get themselves warm." 

" A family of young roaches six inches long flying 
out of your shoe as you go to put your foot into it." 

" Nothing to eat but tough steaks, and hominy fried 
in fat, or rusty bacon served in its own grease." 

*^ Alligator soup is a rare dainty." 

*'And they'll dish up a rattlesnake into a tasty 
ragout. No fresh milk — no fresh meat — ^nothing but 
tallow-fried steak ; ground beans in your cofiee-cup 
in the morning." 

These fancy sketches, however, bore not the slightest 
resemblance to the actual truth ; they were born of a 
too lively imagination, with no experience to keep it 
from rambling into the realms of fiction. In all the 
Southern cities we visited there was most excellent 
hotel accommodation to be found, though the hotels are 
not as a rule, either so large or luxurious as those in 



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Southern Comforts. 91 

other portions of the United States. There are fewer 
grand corridors, less velvet upholstery, less carving 
and gilding and gorgeous mirrors ; but the rooms are 
large, airy, and conveniently furbished, and nowhere 
is a comfortable lounge or rocking-chair found wanting. 
The cuisine is not always such as to tickle the palate 
of an epicure, or gratify the taste of a gourmet. 
There is no attempt (and how often in the most 
pretentious hotels it is only an attempt) at French 
cookery — no entrees, no " high falutin '' arrangements 
at the dinner table ; but there is generally good soup, 
a great variety of excellent fish and vegetables,^ 
poultry, fruit, and pies, and puddings, and most 
delicious crisp salads of all descriptions — and what 
can a whole-souled, hungry mortal desire more ? No 
one with a healthy appetite and good digestion will 
complain of Southern fare, to which Southern courtesy 
imparts perhaps its sweetest savour. 

There are plenty of wild fowl, but a scarcity of all 
such animal food as beef or mutton, in consequence 
of there being so little grazing land, and that little is 
of very poor quality ; the cattle they do raise is of 
the most inferior order — Pharaoh's lean kine ; and as 
they are not able to satisfy their own appetites, are 
not qualified to gratify ours. The native meats are 
tough and flavourless. Private families get along 
very well with the articles of consumption enumerated 
above. The good sirloin or succulent saddle is rarely 



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92 Down South. 

seen upon their tables, though the hotels import 
largely ; indeed, throughout Georgia, Carolina, &c., 
the substantials are always supplied from the eastern 
states. Our bill of fare reads thus : — " Tennessee 
beef," *^ Boston pork," " New York mutton," and even 
" New York lamb." 

On a sunny morning we take our first ramble 
through the *' forest city " of Savannah, and how 
well it deserves the name ! It seems to have grown 
out of the very heart of the "forest primeval," 
whose giant progeny still keep guard over the nest of 
human kind. Whichever way we turn, we look 
through long vistas of shady streets crossing each 
other at right angles ; at each of these crossings, 
throughout the entire city, is an open space laid out 
as a pretty little pleasaunce or toy garden, carpeted 
with soft turf and tiny beds of bright flowers, and 
sometimes planted with green shrubberies, while the 
fine old forest trees, which time and civilisation have 
left standing, spread their wide branches for colonies 
of wild birds to build and sing in. These spaces are 
like slightly improved miniature editions of Padding- 
ton Green, but every one, though it be but twelve 
foot square, is dignified by the name of "park." 

Some of the widest thoroughfares have four rows 
of trees planted the entire length, the branches here 
and there meeting overhead, forming a perfect arch- 
way, while the open street cars on the Central 



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The Forest City. 93 

Avenue beneath seem to carry us along through 
primeval bowers of luxuriant green ; we can hardly 
believe that anything so prosaic as " iron rails " supply 
part of the motive power. 

We find these open street cars a most convenient 
and pleasant mode of locomotion, and spend much 
time riding about the city in this democratic fashion, 
for the streets are ill-kept and dusty, and the road- 
ways sometimes a foot deep with heavy sand, so that 
it is impossible either to walk or drive in a private 
vehicle with any comfort. Once we are attracted 
by big red letters painted on a car side " Concordia," 
" Forsyth Park." Everybody says we must go there ; 
we take everybody's advice, and, as usual, find 
" nothing in it/' Concordia is a fine name for a 
small tea-garden ; Forsyth is a pretty shady spot, 
though it might be railed into a small corner of 
Kensington Gardens ; but the warm southern breeze, 
and the oleander, orange, lemon, and magnolia — 
although the latter is not yet in bloom — have made 
our short expedition a most agreeable one. 

There is little architectural beauty anywhere in the 
city or its surroundings — scarcely any attempt at 
ornamentation. The houses are made up of doors 
and windows on the strictest utilitarian principles. 

The natural beauties of this Arcadian city are so 
great they don't seem to care at all for the em^- 
bellishments of art. Among the pleasant drives in 



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94 Down South. 

the city suburbs, is one to Laurel Grove. We step 
from the cars at the terminus, and inquire of an old 
negro our way to the nearest point of interest. He 
regarded us a moment with his beady black eyes, 
with his head on one side like an inquisitive old bird. 
" Why ! why ! I thought everybody know'd every- 
wheres about Laurel Grove. But maybe you don't 
live nigh Savannah — come a long ways, perhaps?" 
he added curiously. 

We explained our nationality. 

** My lord ! England ! " I wish I could paint the 
expression of astonishment, curiosity, and interest 
that overspread his good-humoured old monkey face 
as he added, inspecting us admiringly, " My ! Think 
o* that ! I never spoke to an English lady but once 
before. It's a cold country over thar, ain't it ? " 

The old man seems inclined to talk, and I am 
disposed to encourage his loquacity ; so much infor- 
mation may be gained in those gatherings by the 
wayside — one feels the pulse of the spirit of the 
people, and learns which way their hearts are beating. 
It is wiser to feed upon such crumbs as chance 
throws in our way, than to wait till a full banquet of 
stereotyped facts are spread before us. He asked me 
many questions, which I answered in the way best 
suited to his understanding ; then I began a short 
catechism on my side. He was very communicative, 
and answered me frankly enough. He had been born 



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A Contented Darkey. 95 

a slave, he said, on a cotton plantation a few miles 
from the city, and in the season still worked for his 
old master. 

'* But since you are now free," I inquire, " why 
don't you go North, and break all connection with the 
old life? surely you would find more advantageous 
employment and opportunities for improvement 
there ? " 

'* Na, na," said the old man, " we never go North ; 
the Yankees set's free and gie's votes, but it ain't 
home-like to us thar. We likes to stay along o' them 
as we was raised wi' ; ole mass'rs know all 'bout us, 
n' we know all about them." 

We found the changes rung to the same tune with 
but slight variation throughout the South. The 
coloured people will serve their old masters, will ask 
their advice and guidance, go to them for consolation 
in their trouble, and seek their assistance when they 
are in difficulties ; but they will not vote for them, 
nor in any way serve their political influence. They 
seem to have a hazy notion that they might be taken 
back into slavery; they cannot realise that such a 
thing is impossible, nor can they imderstand that 
their masters are glad to be rid of the responsibility 
which slavery imposed upon them. The masters 
rejoice in their freedom as much as the slaves do 
in theirs. 

Beautiful in itself, beautiful in its surroundings. 



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96 Down South. 

Savannah is an ideal city for a summer lounge, with 
its pleasant shady promenades and myriad miniature 
parks, thronged with people who are always well 
dressed but never loud in their attire ; there is a quiet 
refinement and dignity about them which savours of 
old world conservatism. 

A host of good fairies seem to have been hovering 
round at the birth of Savannah. In 1733 the city 
consisted of only a few tents pitched under the pine 
trees between what is now Bull and Whitaker Streets, 
now it is one of the most thriving cities of the South ; 
both wharves and quays are crowded with men and 
merchandise, for a brisk and flourishing business is 
carried on in the timber and cotton trade. It is a 
most important commercial centre, both its imports 
and exports being on a largely increasing scale. 

It is impossible not to enjoy thoroughly a saunter 
through this Arcadian city, a chat with the natives 
included. We were constantly amused by finding 
ourselves playing at a forced game of "cross ques- 
tions and crooked answers," our inquiries on any. 
subject never receiving a direct reply. In years 
gone by I had a passing pleasant acquaintance with 
a family who lived in Savannah, but who, I after- 
wards learnt, were then sojourning in England for a 
time. It would have given me great pleasure to 
renew the acquaintance, and I inquire of the hotel 
clerk if Mr. is still living in Savannah? 



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Crooked Answers. 97 

" Ain't seen him for a long while ; think he's dead 
or gone to Europe, but I'll ask." He telephones the 
inquiry to some invisible party, and a sepulchral 
voice answers back — 

" Don't know — but Peter Green he died last week." 

The connection between the deceased Peter Green 

and my acquaintance, Mr. , I have yet to learn. 

Another time we ask— 

"Which is the car for Thunderbolt?" and are 
promptly answered, 

'' That red un is startin' right away for Laurel 
Grove." I inquire the way to the railway station, 
and am directed to the river side. I ask about the 
morning train, and am answered with detailed in- 
formation about the evening express. However, on 
sternly reiterating my question, and emphasising the 
note of interrogation, I sometimes succeeded in at 
last receiving the desired information. 

No one should leave Savannah without visiting the 
ancient cemetery of Buonaventura, the former resi- 
dence of a fine old family, which passed from their 
hands many years ago, and after undergoing many 
changes has been at last converted into a cemetery. 
On entering the noble avenue, and passing beneath 
the arching glories of the grand old oaks, with their 
long weird robes of Spanish moss, it is dilEcult to 
believe that we are entering a city of the dead, by 
whom indeed it is very sparsely populated, the graves 

H 



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98 Down South. 

are so few and far between; one can almost fancy 
that the dead had wandered thither, and moved by 
the sublime repose of the place had lain down to rest, 
while nature wrapped them round about with her 
soft mantle of green, and showered her sweet-scented 
wild flowers above them. There is a profound 
mournfulness too hovering around these silent, solitary 
avenues, where groups of sombre giant trees stand 
brooding and wrapped in their grey moss mantles, 
with drooping arms, and hoary heads bent low 
together, as though they were whispering mysteries, 
holding a solemn council, and pronouncing the eternal 
sentence on the dead below. 

There is nothing prosaic or commonplace about 
Savannah ; it is a perfectly idyllic city, primitive and 
simple in its ways, with no stir of frivolous worldly 
gaieties to rouse it from its sublime repose. No sound 
of drums and trumpets runs echoing through its 
streets ; the only music is that which the wind makes 
as it whistles in many monotones through the tall 
tree tops, and calls soft melodies from the tremulous 
leaves, as the ancient god Pan made music by the 
reedy waterside. It is not grey with age, nor 
marred and scarred by the hand of time ; it seems to 
luxuriate in eternal youth, and live a dreamy life of 
unaltered poetry and sunshine. Even that most prosaic 
of all institutions, the police station, is in perfect 
unison with the rest of this Arcadian city ; it seems 



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Good Night. 99 

to have nothing to do but drone away its hours in 
one ceaseless dolce far niente, as though the ugly 
serpent sin crawled low down out of sight — perhaps 
stirring the hearts, but rarely inciting the acts of the 
people. There seems to be a great scarcity even of 
small sinners. It is a low, clean, brick building in 
a cool shady part of the city ; covered with climbing 
plants and held close in the embrace of an ancient 
vine, which twines in and out of every nook and 
cranny as though it could never be torn away but 
with the life of the building. 

Well, our last day in this forest city closes ; the 
mocking bird, that sings only in the dark, holds its 
last concert on our verandah, and we are sung to 
sleep by the sharp cutting cries of a family of 
youthful alligators which some northern tourists are 
taking home in a tank. 



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CHAPTER. VII. 

To-day and yesterday. — General experience of travel in the 
South. — The associated Southern Railways. 

On first starting Southward everybody warned us of 
the great discomfort of Southern travel ; we were 
therefore prepared for all kinds of inconvenience and 
annoyances by the way — partly arising from the 
alleged dearth of proper meal stations, and the long 
waits at the little wayside stations, where we ex- 
pected to be turned out of one train and left 
disconsolately waiting in the wilderness till we are 
picked up by another, and * we were prepared to 
resign ourselves to jolting cars and rough roads, 
indeed to a series of jerky rickety journeys, ill fed 
by day, ill lodged by night. 

Having reached thus far, we have continued to 
pick up many crumbs of experience by the way, and 
I think this is a fitting place to pause, and say a few 
words on this and some few other subjects. First, I 
have no doubt that my many friendly informants 
spoke according to the light which illuminated their 



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To-day and Yesterday. 101 

minds, reflected from the days gone by, when things 
generally were in a chaotic state, trembling in the 
balance between order and disorder ; or perhaps they 
thought retrospectively of a time still earlier, when 
there were few travellers and scarce accommodation — 
for the one must grow in accordance with the other. 
Mais nous avons changS tout cela. In no country 
in the world are changes so rapid and complete as in 
the United States. North and south, east and west 
— all are animated by the same spirit of progress; 
always on the onward march ; carrying on their social 
revolutions with a rapidity that astonishes and takes 
away the breath of the dear old world, which has 
been working for centuries building up cities, 
gathering peoples together, making laws, and 
evolving constitutions from the heart of ages, lopping 
ofi* and pruning the rotten branches till it has grown 
tired of its labours, and would fain fold its hands and 
rest. But the new world has its life before it ; like a 
strong young Samson, it is full of restless energies, 
it must always be '* up and doing," and trying its 
strength in all directions — ^building up on theoretical 
principles, bombarding and pulling down as practical 
necessities lead them, changing the features of the 
land, modelling and remodeUing day by day till, 
were the whole skies turned into a looking-glass, it 
would not recognise its own face as reflected therein. 
The South of to-day is not the South of the 



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102 Down South. 

yesterdays. It has slept and dreamed through so 
many generations of beautiful repose beneath sunny 
skies and soft sweet airs, enjoying an eternal dolce 
far niente and giving no thought to anything 
beyond itself. Now it is awake, it has unsealed its 
eyes, shaken off the luxurious flowery chain that has 
held it like links of iron, stretched its limbs, and, 
as a sleeping army springs to life at the sound of the 
trumpet, it is up and doing ; developing its marvellous 
resources on the earth and under the earth, building 
factories, opening mines, and utilising its wonderful 
water power — forcing the quiet river out of its 
accustomed way, lashing it till, after much foaming, 
flashing, and groaning, it grinds the com, crushes the 
rough ore, and labours at the world's work like a 
sentient being. 

In the old days there was not much travel through 
the Southern States. The wealthy planter lived 
literally under his own vine and fig tree — a life of 
luxurious ease and sweet contentment. There, on his 
own domain, he kept a kind of feudal state, sur- 
rounded by his dusky subjects. There was no 
stimulant, because no need for exertion ; the refine- 
ments and elegances were in a state of high cultiva- 
tion, and his requirements were gratified by his 
immediate surroundings ; he rarely looked beyond 
them. Everything bloomed in his own garden, except, 
perhaps, heartsease, for he always listened for the 



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Old Time Journeys. 103 

storm which he knew must arise on some future 
though indefinite day. Perhaps in due course his 
sons went the tour of Europe, and then returned 
to the old homestead to tread in their father's foot- 
steps, and live through life in the old primitive, 
luxurious fashion. On the rare occasions when they 
decided to travel through their own states to and 
from points out of the beaten path made by the 
main railway lines, or the steamboats ploughing their 
watery highways, they had to journey across the 
country where roads were rough or existed not at all ; 
the arrangement needing much consideration and 
being attended by considerable expense. 

The journey they could take in twelve hours by 
rail would occupy four or five days, when they must 
carry their own servants and provisions with them, 
and also be provided with a supply of tents, and 
generally camp out from the beginning to the end 
of the journey. They required to travel very carefully 
too, not only from the generally swampy state of the 
country, but from the risk they ran of making 
acquaintance with slimy reptiles and other odious 
creations. These considerations rendered the expe- 
dition one that could hardly be taken for pleasure ; 
but now, in these later days, it is a delight to travel 
in this sunny land ; travelling is made easy even to 
the most remote portion of the Southern States, and 
every day things are everywhere improving and 



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104 . Down South. 

makiDg a royal progress as near perfection as we 
can ever hope to arrive. 

The main line of railway runs, like an iron vertebra, 
a kind of backbone, from north to south ; the 
directors of the southern line of railway, realising 
the necessity of extension, and desirous of giving 
easy access to all parts of the country, have laid 
down branch lines in all directions, running out like 
the arms of an octopus, grasping at distant towns 
and villages, and halting at the most beautiful secluded 
spots in the inmost quarters of the land. Having 
due regard to the fact that people will not travel 
unless they can do so with a tolerable amount of ease 
and comfort, the projectors of the southern lines of 
railway have paid due respect to the requirements of 
the public, and have formed their plans and carried 
on their operations with a view to the convenience 
and comfort of their temporary guests. 

The lines are carefully laid over level roads with 
the best steel rails, and are carried through some of 
the most picturesque as well as the most weird and 
wild portions of the country. The carriages are new, 
the drawing-room and sleeping cars elegantly fitted up 
with luxurious spring seats, mirrors, and gorgeous 
surroundings. 

In order to insure safety, so far as safety can be 
assured in any branch of human life, the trains are 
in the command of the most experienced engineers, 



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Travelling at Leisure. 105 

and are supplied with the patent Westinghouse 
automatic air brakes, and all other new and improved 
appliances, so as to reduce the risk of travelling 
to a minimum degree. Everything is done with 
leisurely dignity and quietude in the South ; there 
is no bustle or confusion, no general rush, even at 
the depots. The iron horse, in his bright brass 
harness, comes up to the platform with a few 
dignified snorts; there is no puffing, nor blowing, 
nor demoniacal shrieks, as though a score of fiends 
were struggling to get free from their fiery prison. 
He deposits his living freight according to their 
several desires ; then, answering to the call of the 
engine-bell, as a good steed responds to the spur of 
his rider, with a stately tramp moves onward, the 
thin blue smoke curling from his cavernous nostrils, 
as though he were some metallic monster going 
for an evening stroll with a gigantic cigar between 
his iron lips. 

Those who take delight in going at express speed 
must abandon that idea in travelling South. There 
is no rapid transit there, no "Lightning Express" 
nor " Flying Dutchman " thunders through those 
sylvan scenes ; but you are carried along at a de- 
corous pace, at the rate of twenty, sometimes thirty, 
miles an hour. This is a great gain to those who 
travel for pleasure only, as they are enabled thoroughly 



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106 Down South. 

to enjoy the scenery of the state they are moving 
through. 

The rich, romantic forest, with its hoary-headed 
army of grand old trees — grim cedars, lofty pines, 
and light skirmishing lines of graceful palmettoes, all 
dressed in their regimentals of varied greens — march 
slowly and solemnly by, saluting you gravely with 
their bowing branches as they pass in panoramic 
review before your eyes ; you have time to take in 
the individual character of these glorious hummocks 
and savannahs as you pass them by. For personal 
enjoyment it is surely better to travel in this leisurely 
fashion than to fly through the air, hurled and whirled 
along at express speed, till earth and sky seems 
blended together in one blurred mass of mingled 
blue and green. 

There are well-provisioned restaurants stationed 
at certain intervals all along the road. The excellence 
of these, of course, varies according to the manage- 
ment ; at most you may enjoy the luxury of a 
thoroughly well cooked meal — the universal steak, 
fried chicken, varied vegetables, dessert, and milk 
and cofi'ee ad libitum. At some you get a dainty 
meal that even an epicure might enjoy ; I call to 
mind one perfectly luxurious entertainment. The 
train drew up at a secluded wayside spot ; it was no 
station at all, only a few pretty cottages embowered 



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An ARCADLA.N Feast. 107 

in trees were scattered about in sight. We were 
convoyed by our polite train conductor through a 
blooming garden to one of these, with the porch 
overgrown with hoDey suckle and a wealth of white 
roses ; here, in a simply furnished dining-room, pre- 
parations had been made for our entertainment. We 
were a party of about twenty, including the engineer 
and conductors; and while the brown bees were dron- 
ing at their pleasant work outside, the brilliant-hued 
flowers peeped in at the windows, nodded their 
plumed heads at us, and kept up a whispering concert 
while we regaled ourselves on the good things set 
before us. It was a dainty feast, fit for the gods ; 
there was no vulgar display of huge underdone joints 
— the very sight of which is apt to chase away the 
appetite without cost to its owner ; there were broiled 
chickens with mushrooms, delicate lamb, crisp salad, 
new potatoes stewed in cream, new laid eggs, straw- 
berries, dainty omelets, and other tempting dishes. 
A steaming cup of fragrant coffee was handed round 
as, our twenty minutes having expired, we were 
summoned to depart by the stentorian cry of " All 
aboard 1 All aboard I " Everybody complimented 
our hostess — a widow lady — on her pleasant enter- 
tainment, and promised to advise everybody to stop 
there and taste her hospitality. 

The train only stops here once in the twenty-four 



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108 Down South. 

hours ; the rest of the time the cottage and its in- 
habitants are left to enjoy their sweet seclusion. Of 
course this kind of thing is an exception, though at 
several stations we enjoyed excellent meals well 
worth the tourist's while to remember. As the 
happiness of a human being largely depends on the 
state of his stomach, if that portion of machinery 
is judiciously treated it helps to keep the rest in 
order, and is an aid to general good spirits. 

At one place — Smithville in Georgia — a capital 
home-made wine, " Scuppernong," was supplied 
liberally and without extra charge. The cost of a 
meal was sometimes fifty cents, but more usually 
seventy-five cents. Occasionally the steak may be 
tough, the '* rooster '* have outgrown his early youth, 
but with plenty of fresh eggs and bacon, vegetables, 
salad, and bread and butter, the hungry may be 
well satisfied. 

I have perhaps dwelt on this subject more than it 
was necessary I should have done ; but so many 
misapprehensions exist, so many false reports (no 
doubt ignorantly) circulated coDcerning Southern 
travel, that I have thought it well to give my slight 
experience on the subject, and I am sure my testi- 
mony will be supported by all who have followed or 
may follow in my footsteps. Of course, in the great 
army of tourists there is always a contingent of 



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The Grumblers. 109 

native-born grumblers who are never satisfied, and 
wander through the sullen groves of discontent and 
fret the very air with their endless complaining ; 
and even when they enter the gates of heaven they 
will complain, like the dissatisfied cherub, that " their 
halo doesn't fit." 



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CHAPTER VIII. 

En route for Jacksonville. — A few words about Florida. — Its 
climate. — Its folk. — Its productions. 

When the associated Southern railways cease to exist 
the Florida Transit takes up the matter, and conveys 
you with equal comfort to some of the most attractive 
points of the state. 

We are soon en route for Florida, which is the 
kind of Mecca of our hearts' desires. Florida I The 
very name is suggestive of sunshine and flowers, 
orange groves, and the sweet-scented air of " Araby 
the blest." I have but little time and little space 
to devote to this varied and beautiful land, and fear 
that my brief sketch will convey but a faint idea of 
the country ; though it may perhaps serve to waken 
the interest and induce some few to follow in my 
footsteps, or rather to make a visit of inspection on 
their own account and see and judge for themselves. 
If they go from mere curiosity only they will find 
plenty to gratify it, and if with any idea of settling 
there the field is so wide, the attractions so varied. 



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Florida. Ill 

they will find no difficulty in settling according to 
their hearts' desires ; whatever they seek in the way 
of climate or of soil they will surely find there if 
they give themselves time and trouble to seek it out. 
This being one of the younger children of the 
state, having been bom into it indeed only in 1845, 
its progress has been slow — much slower than that 
of many of the other states in this " go-ahead *' 
land, many of which have grown to maturity at a 
single bound, like the magic tree the Indian jugglers 
show us, which is planted, grows, bears buds, flowers, 
and fruits in the very hour of its birth. Although 
the natural advantages of Florida are unequalled, its 
development has been very gradual, and its popula- 
tion, scanty and scattered, is much smaller in propor- 
tion than that of any other state in the Union. We 
may, perhaps, except Nevada and Colorado, both of 
which are mountainous, rocky regions, whereas Florida 
is a level land, its highest elevation being about 
500 feet above the sea, and very rarely attaining to 
that. There is, however, a constant tide of immi- 
gration flowing into the state, and the increase of 
the population during the last dozen years is sur- 
prising. Still some of the finest portions of the state 
are yet unpenetrated — ^luxuriant wildernesses left 
in a state of nature ; but these are being rapidly 
cleared, and there is room enough for another million 
of workers and a promising field for their speculations. 



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112 Down South. 

Let the settlers flock in as fast as they may, provided 
they come with an adequate supply of patience, in- 
dustry, and discrimination in their choice of a settle- 
ment, a prosperous career may be assured to them ; 
for Florida has a soil fitted for the production of 
every possible kind of fruit, flowers, vegetables, and 
forest produce that can be cultivated in any part of 
the temperate or semi-tropical world. 

Many of us have heard (and regarded as fabulous) 
of its growth of oranges and lemons, but these mar- 
vellous accounts are in no way exaggerated. Some 
orange groves have produced for their owners from 
300 to 3,000 dollars an acre, and a single acre of 
pines has produced as much as 1,200 dollars in one 
season 1 Such prolific productions and large profits 
are by no means uncommon, especially when there 
is a railway depot near at hand which renders the 
transport easy. 

It is not uncommon to see wide stretches of wheat 
fields ripening in January. Sugar cane and pines 
are largely cultivated in the semi-tropical portions 
of the state, which yield an immense profit ; and of 
garden vegetables, sometimes, nay often, two or three 
abundant crops are produced from the same tract of 
land within the year. Common vegetables as well as 
dainty fruits grow abundantly, and peach trees attain 
to a prodigious size ; the largest known grows in 
Volusia County, its branches spreading nearly eighty 



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The Land of Flowers. 113 

feet in diameter I Everything grows with a spon- 
taneity that is surprising — fruits and flowers every- 
where in the woods and wildernesses in wild 
luxuriance. The very nature of things seems to be 
reversed ; pears grow on graceful vines, peas on stately 
trees, and some things (as witness the air plant) grow 
on nothing at all. But in spite of the richness of 
the soil, the geniality of the climate, Florida is not 
exactly a paradise; here as elsewhere man must 
carry out the great law, and labour for his daily 
bread. Nature is prolific, and yields her treasures 
ungrudgingly, but she demands something in return. 
Men must come to her with a strong arm and patient 
brain, bring their intelligence to the fore, learn to 
watch her varying moods and seasons, and prune and 
train and use her after her own fashion ; all this has 
to be learned by a new comer, for the agricultural 
process and the treatment of fruits and flowers is 
quite different from that which is necessary in their 
culture elsewhere ; but given a certain amount of 
prudence and knowledge, and more comfort with less 
labour may be obtained here than in any other part 
of the world, for it Is rarely too hot, rarely too cold. 
Frost is never an expected visitor, though in certain 
years it has been a most unwelcome guest, and amply 
revenged itself for its general expulsion from the soil. 
The winter of 1880 was exceptionally severe; it 
girded on its frosted garments and travelled south- 

I 



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114 Down South. 

ward, sweeping through the northern part of Florida 
and laying its icy hand upon orange and lemon 
groves, freezing the fruit upon the trees, working sad 
havoc wherever it took its frozen way, causing great 
loss to all, ruin to some ; but this visitation was con- 
fined to a very small portion of the state. In the 
larger and more numerous districts frost is simply 
unknown, and its advent would cause as much won- 
derment as a snowstorm in Calcutta. The truth is, 
there is trinity and unity in the state, three Floridas 
in one, which may be thus classified — the tropical, 
semi-tropical, and temperate or northern Florida. 
The latter, northern Florida, is a land of wheat, 
corn, cotton, rice, apples, grapes, etc. — indeed, all 
cereals, fruits, or vegetables that are cultivated in the 
northern provinces may be grown here, as well as 
some few of the hardier Southern products. Slight 
frosts and cold snaps are not of infrequent occur- 
rence, and the scenery is the most picturesque of 
all the state, being"' varied by grand rolling forests, 
grey, rugged rocks, and beautiful winding streams, 
where fish and wild fowl of all kinds are most abund- 
ant. The temperature is delightful all the year round, 
and it is in this region the finest live stock is raised. 

In middle or semi-tropical Florida the soil is of a 
sandy character, the country flat and uninteresting, 
unvaried by streams or rivers ; it is only in the 
orange lake region that a fair extensive lake may 



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The Semi-Tropical Belt. 115 

here and there be found, hidden away in some 
wooded tract of uncultivated land. Here many of 
the products of the temperate or tropical regions, 
such as lemons, figs, guava, and citron trees, may be 
found growing side by side, all the year round ; and 
delicious vegetables, tomatoes, beets, lettuce, cucum- 
bers, and fine marrowfat peas, are shipped daily in 
large quantities, and despatched northward during 
the months of January, February, and March. 
Strawberries, too, are largely cultivated, and yield 
an immense profit. 

Strangers are daily flocking into this district from 
all points of the states. Many prefer this to the 
more southern parts of Florida, and large settlements 
are growing rapidly everjrwhere, especially along the 
line of the Transit Eailway, which runs between 
Cedar Keys and Fernandina. Almost fabulous quan- 
tities of the hardier fruits and vegetables are produced 
here, and as the facilities of transportation lie near 
at hand, they are at once placed in the hands of the 
consumer, and with the slightest expense to the 
grower. This region is, however, always liable to 
frost, which may be looked for any time during the 
winter months, but may not appear for many years ; 
but when it does come, the crops are ruined for 
that season. 

Southern Florida is really the tropical region, 
the Egypt of the United States, where frosts are 

I 2 



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116 Down South. 

unknown, and every fruit or flower, or forest product, 
which grows in the most tropical quarters of the 
world, is or may be cultivated with complete success. 
Pine-apples, bananas, cocoanut, guava, almonds, olives 
and figs, with a long list of other tropical fruits, are 
produced in luxuriant abundance, but we no longer 
wander through groves of orange or lemon trees. Of 
scenery in these parts there is nothing to speak of ; 
in the interior it is made up of sunshine, fruits and 
flowers. The land is level and uninteresting tiQ you 
reach the coast line, where all along the Atlantic 
shore you have fine picturesque ranks of bold rocky 
landscape, flanked by the glorious old sea. For 
1,150 miles the sea washes the shores of Florida, 
and yet throughout this long stretch of seaboard 
there are but a very few good harbours, and these 
are chiefly on the Atlantic coast. 

All along this coast line the country is very prolific, 
and in the woods, in the air, in the lakes, and in the 
rivers, fish, flesh and fowl — especially oysters and 
turtles — are most abundant. This is a delightful 
region wherein to enjoy a perfect summer climate 
during the winter months; but at the midsummer 
time, gnats, flies, and mosquitoes are swarming, and 
become a perfect scourge. Here, too, at the further- 
most southern point, jutting out between the Atlantic 
Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, are the celebrated 
" Everglades '* — an immense tract of country consisting 



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The Everglades. 117 

of many thousands of square miles of flat prairie 
land, completely covered with fresh sweet water, 
clear as crystal, and varying from six inches to six 
feet deep. This in turn is studded with islands which 
bear an immense growth of oak, hickory, palmetto, 
pine, cedar, and other valuable timbers, and here in 
these peculiar wilds dwell the remnant of the Seminole 
Indians, once the most powerful of all the Indian 
tribes which formerly inhabited those isolated regions. 
It needs not be said that no white folk are dwellers 
herein, though occasionally a bold party of hunters 
will penetrate these desolate regions ; and on their 
return to the civilised world they bring a pleasant 
account of the simple hospitality and kindly spirit 
of the inhabitants. 

There is some talk of draining these Everglades ; 
if this idea be carried out, it will open up millions of 
acres of valuable cotton and sugar lands, and will, 
no doubt, be quickly occupied by an adventurous 
multitude. 

The first great need here, as in other parts of 
Florida, is population. Let a party of pioneers start 
with pickaxe and shovel, and hew out the first 
pathway ; one builds the first shanty, a companion 
follows and builds another; men are gregarious 
animals, and the nucleus once formed, soon gather 
together. Small storekeepers bring thither the neces- 
sities of life (a saloon and liquor store is among the 



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118 Down South. 

first erections) ; then follows the wholesale dealers, 
the bankers, and soon solid prosperity is assured to 
the little colony. Villages spring up and soon expand 
into cities, for wherever labour leads capital quickly 
follows. There is no need for labour to languish for 
want of funds, industry and brains are more valuable 
than money in the market ; and no matter how poor, 
even penniless, a man may be, if he is willing to 
work and to aid in the developing another man's land, 
he will surely end by cultivating his own. It is not 
wealth that has made the first step towards pro- 
gression in any land, it is always the poor emigrant, 
with his rifle and wheelbarrow, who first penetrates 
the wilds, turns the first sod, and so lays the first 
stone of cities and civilisation. 

Nowhere can the capitalist find so large a scope 
for his speculations, and nowhere can the poor man 
find a better market for the labour of his hand or the 
fruits of his brain ; with industry and prudence he 
may be assured of present comfort and future 
prosperity — limitless prosperity, provided also that 
he be energetic and wise. 

The development of Florida has generally been 
carried on by the northern people. Everywhere 
throughout the entire state they are planning fresh 
improvements : draining swampy lands, fertilising the 
soil, and experimentalising with strange crops, 
building railways, cities, mills, and churches — in 



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Mr. Barbour^s Book 119 

fact, endeavouring to cultivate, and turn to good 
account the most neglected and wildest regions ; and 
everywhere their endeavours are crowned with 
success, for on every side you find evidence of 
northern capital and northern enterprise. No one 
who thinks of settling and establishing a permanent 
residence in this " flowery land," can do better 
than consult Barbour's Florida, from which he can 
extract all he desires to know. 

Mr. Barbour has visited all parts, and penetrated 
the remotest recesses of the state, and has made 
himself thoroughly acquainted with the resources of 
every special district, and has boiled his varied 
experiences down, and reproduced them in the afore- 
named volume. He gives no advice, makes no attempt 
to influence settlers in their choice of a location ; 
he merely states facts, gives a descriptive account of 
each district — its capabilities, its climate, its soil, and 
gives a list of such cereals, fruits, flowers, and 
vegetables, etc. as have been, or may be, most 
successfully cultivated in each place ; thus imparting 
most valuable information to those who most need 
it, never misleading the inquiring mind or twisting 
the imagination awry. 

I have no time to consider the subject of Florida 
so particularly as I desire to do ; I can only generalise, 
as a rule, and visit such special places as are easy of 



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120 Down South. 

access, and are, or are likely to become, places of 
popular resort, either for the invalid or pleasure- 
seeker; my object is to enjoy the season, and 
see what there is for other people to enjoy. 

Some transient visitors who have eyes yet no 
eyes, sensibilities without sense, give a brief but 
sweeping opinion of Florida, and say — 

" It's a hot, dry, dusty place, nothing in it but 
oranges and alligators — good enough in winter for 
those poor creatures who don't care to run the risk 
of freezing in the north ; and that's all there is 
in it." 

Such hastily uttered opinions are no doubt at- 
tributable to a bilious temperament or bad digestion. 
Every season brings a fresh influx of visitors, some 
in search of health, some in search of pleasure ; 
there is a plentiful supply of both, and each may 
choose his own fashion of taking it. Some love to 
lounge on the wide verandahs looking over the 
perfumed garden of fruits and flowers, enjoying in 
January the soft balmy breath of June ; or they may 
wander through miles of orange groves, or row upon 
the quiet moonlit lakes or rivers, or indulge in fishing 
expeditions up the wonderful " St. John's," varying 
that gentle pastime by shooting wild ducks or 
alligators. 

Those who are inclined to enjoy a pure pleasure 



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En Eoute. 121 

trip, a ramble through the ancient Spanish cities 
and modern towns, to take a trip up the Koyal 
St. John's, or the weird wild Ocklawaha — the most 
wonderful water-way in the world — may let loose 
their imagination and go with me, for I am 
en route for Jacksonville. 



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CHAPTER IX. 

Pine forests. — Arcadian scenes. — Strange companionship. — ^We 
reach Jacksonville. 

Our road still lies through cities of silent pines, 
stirred only by the voice of the moaning wind ; 
whole armies of them are drawn up on either side, 
stretching away as far as the eye can reach. They 
look as though they have just come out of a great 
battle : some are crippled and stand tottering on their 
roots, others hang their lank limbs as though they 
have not strength to upbear their weight of leaves, 
and some are standing with huge gashes in their sides, 
and punctured wounds all over their bodies ; their 
bark is stripped off, and their naked trunks are 
scarified all over, they are cut and stabbed till their 
poor veins are drained of their life's blood. Here and 
there stands the rough, tumble-down shanty of the 
turpentine distillers — a hard-working and intelligent 
set of labourers, who are largely employed in these 
lonely forest regions, gathering the wealth of these 
gigantic uncomplaining pines. And how great is the 



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Among the Pine Trees. 123 

wealth that is gathered therefrom — tar and rosin, 

phosphate of lime, of soda, of magnesia, potash, and 

many other important chemicals are wrung from their 

generous limbs. They give, give, give, till their 

strength is exhausted ; then the distiller moves on 

and carries the war into another part of the country, 

while his victims are left to recuperate. But no 

sooner are they grown strong and vigorous again 

with renewed healthy life — the sap rising and 

refilling their empty veins — scarcely have their old 

wounds had time to heal, when they are again 

attacked by the ruthless requirements of man. Their 

sides are cut and stabbed, and once more their veins 

are emptied, and thus, like dropsical human kind, 

they are tapped again and again till they are dried 

up, and have nothing more to give. Their green 

crowns fall, their arms wither, and they are left to a 

lonely, though picturesque old age, and are perhaps 

more admired in the naked grandeur of their decline 

than in their youthful prime ; for are not the ruined 

castles of old days more impressive and attractive 

than the gorgeous palaces of the new ? for there 

nature in the long run beats art even at her own 

work. As fast as art builds up time begins to break 

down, and does his work by imperceptible degrees : 

then nature with decorative ingenuity comes to the 

fore and clothes the dilapidations with soft moss and 

a graceful combination of ivy, ferns, and flowers, till 



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124 Down South. 

the ugly skeleton with its empty sockets and crumb- 
ling limbs is all aglow with a beautiful new life — a 
picturesqueness that is only born of decay. 

Here and there, creeping out from some • watery 
waste within their midst, are wide shining pools, 
overspread with soft green lily pads, with fair white 
blossoms cushioned thereon, looking as pure and 
innocent as baby fairies asleep on a bed of green 
leaves. 

As we jog solemnly along on our iron road the 
scene undergoes a gradual change, and we- are- soon 
in a new world of green ; the change has been so 
gradual indeed that we hardly know when we took 
our last look of the dark sombre pines of the north. 
Their brethren of the South, with whom we are now 
making acquaintance, are of a lighter colour, and 
seem of a more airy frivolous nature than the 
northern forest kings whom we ^jave left a few 
hundred miles behind us. Here they are tall, slim, 
and straight, with bare smooth trunks, and a chaplet 
of pale feathery green leaves waving like warriors' 
plumes above their lofty heads. We have soon 
outrun the romantic cypress swamps, the salt 
marshes, and forest lands; the shining pools with 
their lovely water lilies give place to banks of fine 
white sand, but still among the yellow pines the 
white blossom of the dogwood streams out like a 
hidden banner half unfurled. 



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Changing Scenes. • 125 

The form and character of the trees here are very 
different from the eastern or northern branches of 
their family, just as an oriental beauty differs from 
a Belgravian belle. We are no longer rushing 
through luxuriant " hammocks," and tangles of a leafy 
wonderland ; the ground is rough and uneven, and 
has but a scanty growth of green. Now and then 
we come upon a solitary date-palm, majestic in its 
stately loneliness ; the surrounding trees seem to 
have fallen away from it and group themselves in 
the distance, as though in honour to its royalty. 
Here, too, is the tall palmetto, the parent of a large 
family of dwarf palmettoes which are gathered 
around it, with their sheaves of lance-like leaves 
lifted in the sunlight. 

We thoroughly enjoy the novelty of the scenery, 
so different from that we have already passed 
through. We feel we are on the threshold of a 
tropical land, and wait eagerly for its wonder to 
unfold itself; the change is so subtle and silent we 
cannot tell where it began ; we feel it in the very air 
we breathe, even the sunshine seems to fall from 
a different part of the heavens, and to bring with 
it a kind of perfumed warmth with its glorious light. 
Then we cross wide tracts of barren sand dunes — rich ' 
red sand — with here and there a stunted growth of 
green ; these poor tracts of country are occasionally 
varied by rich hammocks or clearings, interspersed 



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126 Down South. 

with a tangle of wild orange trees or stately 
palmettoes, half smothered in the embrace of 
luxuriant vines. 

Presently we stop at a kind of wayside hotel 
(the veriest hovel that sells a jug of lager or slab 
of corncake is dignified by the name of hotel) ; it 
is quite in the wilderness, a sort of travellers' rest, 
with not a shanty nor even a pig-stye in sight, for 
the wild hogs (and their name is legion) run free — 
poor homeless tramps of the wilderness ; and long 
legged, ragged-looking Cochin-Chinas are strutting 
about crowing their loudest, as though the whole 
world belonged to them. This is no house of enter- 
tainment for us ; we have been merely signalled to 
stop to take up passengers. For in a moment a 
fierce-looking portly gentleman, warranted fresh from 
his tailor, comes out of the low cranky door, and an 
attendant darkie hauls his portmanteau after him ; 
an abundance of chains and seals dangle from his 
waistcoat pocket, and with much puffing and blow- 
ing, like a human grampus, he gets into the train, 
and glares defiantly round him. He is loud — ^loud 
in his dress, loud in his talk, louder still in his 
actions ; he bangs into his seat, slams down the 
window, and bawls out some last instructions, then 
sinks into his seat, gives sundry wrathful snorts, and 
sits swelling like a frog who is like to burst. Two 
poor half-Indian women come down the narrow 



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Our Fellow Passengers. 127 

winding pathway from the wilderness ; they have 
evidently tramped many miles, and slink into a 
seat at the very end of the train, as though they 
had no business there ; they have a timid, frightened 
look upon their dusky faces, and glance anxiously 
round at everything and everybody. We gather 
from their whispered confidences that they have 
come from some small settlement in the interior of 
the country, and had never been in a train before — 
possibly had never seen one ; all their worldly goods 
seem to be contained in the baskets and bundles 
which they deposit beside them, and guard with 
jealous care. There is something pathetic in the 
care and attention these lonely women show to 
each other. They are evidently stricken by some 
great sorrow, for as they sit together side by side, 
staring out upon the landscape with lustreless eyes, 
a large tear that had been long gathering rolls 
slowly down the cheek of one of them ; they speak 
no word, but huddle closer together with a dumb 
sympathy that is more eloquent than words. 

We knew not whence they had come nor whither 
they were going ; they were two lonely women, and 
by their talk alone in the world, mere waifs and 
strays of humanity — drifting, drifting on the tide 
of life, till they are cast upon that silent shore where 
the tide neither ebbs nor flows. If the engine gave 
an extra shriek or whistle they cast silent, inquiring 



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128 Down South. 

glances round like frightened animals, but never 
spoke a word. At meal time they turned aside and 
ate surreptitiously from their baskets, nibbling slyly 
like mice at a cheese. 

The fierce-looking gentleman who had first attracted 
our attention was evidently in a hurry to get on ; he 
pelted the guard with questions whenever he caught 
sight of him : "How far were we from this place?" 
*' When should we get to that ? " " How slowly we 
were going. I could race the engine and win," he 
adds contemptuously ; then he fidgeted in his seat, 
and fretted and fumed ; he scowled at everybody, and 
seemed absolutely to swell with his own importance. 
He pulled out a big watch as noisy and fussy as him- 
self ; it looked so brazen and ticked so loud as though 
nothing in this world was going but itself — as though 
indeed it had nothing at all to do with time, but was 
rather in a hurry to get ahead of it, when it should 
have been minding its own business, done its duty, and 
ticked the solemn flight of the passing hours. We 
turn our backs upon this pompous individual, and our 
interest becomes absorbed in these two poor women, 
from whom we gather an outline of their history. It 
is a simple one : a story of trials and struggles, of 
tangles, of failures, and want and sorrow, of life and 
death ; such as may be written of so many of the 
human family who reap only thorns and thistles in 
this world ; but in the next who knows what roses 



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Palm and Pine. 129 

may for them be blooming ! Luckily for ' all such 
labourers, hope, like a will-o'-the-wisp, lights the 
distant shadows and dances before them, now here, 
now there, till they reach their journey's end and 
drop unnoticed into nameless graves. 

Presently we cross a narrow stream or river, and 
learn that we have left the rolling lands of Georgia 
behind and are now in Florida. We look round as 
though we expected a sudden transformation scene, 
but there is no violent change. Nature is full of 
surprises, but here in these latitudes she moves with 
a slow, subtle grace, in accordance with the soft sun- 
shine, and warm, soft air of these semi-tropical regions, 
where nothing is in a hurry, and even the streams 
and rivers flow in a tender, languid ripple. She is 
still changing the expression of her countenance, but 
slowly; her white, gleaming sands flash more and 
more frequently in our eyes. We are on the rough, 
ragged edge of Florida ; it is flat and sandy with 
a scanty growth of straggling yellow pines and stunted 
palmettoes, which seem cowering down trying to hide 
themselves from the sight of the sun. 

Within an hour we are in Jacksonville, the first 
city in Florida, whence the tourist takes his first 
impression of the climate and the people. The train 
stops at a busy, bustling wharf, and as we step out 
we face the grand expanse of the noble St. John's 
river, stretching away in gracefully curving lines to 

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130 Down South. 

the right and the left of us ; a few fishing boats with 
brown patched sails are gliding to and fro, and one 
or two pretty miniature steamers are puffing lazily 
along its surface ; the curving banks on the opposite 
shore are fringed with green to the water's edge. 
We turn round and face the town : there is a wide 
stretch of land cut up in plots of garden ground, then 
a long, unbroken line of shops and houses, varied by 
the lofty and elegant fajades of the Everett and 
Carlton Hotels which face the river front, the view 
however being slightly marred by the wharf and the 
railway station, which is a mere rough, wooden 
structure and has been hastily run up regardless of 
architectural appearance ; a few rough, wooden 
benches under cover are all the waiting-rooms the 
passengers are likely to find. Adjoining the station, 
and indeed forming a part of it, are long wharves 
and packing-houses, where hives of busy bees are 
always working, especially during the months of 
January and February, packing and shipping straw- 
berries and other delicate fruits to New York and 
other eastern and northern cities. At this point there 
is an immense amount of railway traffic, the iron 
roads running like the arms of an octopus in every 
direction ; trains are constantly passing to and fro, 
but they are too far away for either the sight or the 
sounds to cause any actual inconvenience beyond 
slightly obstructing the view of the Bay Street hotels. 



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Our Hotel. 131 

If these ugly but useful structures were swept away, 
or stationed a little farther down the river away from 
the town, the land and water view from the whole 
line of Bay Street would be lovely in the extreme. 

Lying farther back, as we afterwards find, are 
numerous other hotels, all erected in choice positions, 
some embowered in trees and gardens of blooming 
flowers ; all are beautifully shaded and luxuriously 
appointed in every particular. 

There are plenty of omnibuses waiting ; we drive 
at once to the Everett, attracted by its handsome 
appearance and position, and knowing that there 
we should have the advantage of every breeze that 
blew from the river. 



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CHAPTER X. 

Jacksonville. — Our hotel. — Greenleaf 's museum. — Floridian 
curiosities. — East winds and tropical breezes. — Strawberry 
packing. 

We shake the dust from our garments and wash 
our travel-stained faces, and by the time we descend 
to the dining-room we find that the regular tahle-^ 
dhdte dinner is over, but the tables are still laid 
for the accommodation of late comers. Some of the 
lights are out, the rest are turned low, and scores 
of dusky shadows seem to be hiding in the distant 
corners of the big room. The tables are laid with 
snow-white cloths, and furnished with shining silver 
and glass and flowers, but the long saloon is so empty 
and still it looks like a dead banquet lying-in state 
rather than the preparations for a social meal. How- 
ever, as we enter with a few others, the lights flash 
up and everything is lively enough, the ever- 
attentive black waiters bustle briskly about, and 
by the time we are comfortably seated the first 
instalment of our meal is before us« Judging 



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The Blue Cat, 133 

from the first ladle of soup, you may generally tell 
what your dinner will be, they say. So from our 
first dainty dish of roast oysters we augured well 
for our general entertainment. They are evidently 
accustomed to cater for epicures and invalids ; every 
dish is delicately served ; even if you were not hungry 
you would be tempted to eat. We had scarcely com- 
menced when our waiter inquired, in an insinuating 
whisper, '' Would we like a little ' blue cat ? ' " 

We know that in some countries rats and mice 
are considered rare danties, and even in the more 
civilised quarters of the globe snails and frogs are 
regarded as luxurious tit-bits. We desired the blue 
cat to be served, and half expected to see the feline 
animal served up — claws, tail, and all smothered 
in sauce piquante 1 And why not ? I believe that 
French art^ould dress up the sole of an old shoe, or 
even a rusty door-nail so as to tempt the appetite 
and sit easy on the digestion. However, our blue 
cat turned out to be a familiar fish of most delicious 
flavour ; we had made acquaintance with it before, 
but had not been introduced to it by its proper 
name ; we had eaten '' blue cat," but knew it not. 

It is growing late in the month of March, and 
Jacksonville is not itself, they tell us, A month ago, 
and the hotels were all crowded, and so great was 
the influx of people they could not be comfortably 
housed ; fair ladies and fastidious gentlemen were 



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134 Down South. 

forced into strange quarters, taking their places, like 
aristocratic stowaways, in garrets, in lumber rooms, 
or in any hole or corner where humanity can stretch 
itself and sleep. Such scores of invalids and pleasure- 
seekers come hither in search of health or amuse- 
ment during the winter months, that although there 
are many first-class hotels, and over a hundred and 
fifty — counting those of a second-class and boarding- 
houses together — ^yet even then the accommodation 
is scarcely enough for the visitors. Everybody flocks 
to the large hotels ; they like the elegantly upholstered 
drawing-rooms, with their gorgeous decorations and 
gilded mirrors, the lofty corridors, and, above all, the 
well-appointed cuisine. There are some people who 
would rather sleep on a shelf with their feet out of 
the window, like Alice in Wonderlandy and enjoy 
these luxuries, than occupy a large airy <room with 
commonplace comforts. 

During the season Jacksonville is the gayest of 
gay cities ; its hotels are brilliantly lighted, and the 
sounds of mirth and music float from its open 
windows; there are concerts, private theatricals, 
picnics and water-parties, no end of them. The 
flagging spirits of the invalids are stirred and 
stimulated by the general gaieties round them ; they 
are driven to forget themselves, and have no time 
to dwell upon their own ailments, as they are apt 
to do in their own domestic circle, with anxious 



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Walking made Easy. 135 

sympathising friepds around them. Perhaps in the 
early stages this is well, but in the later phases of 
disease the necessity of dressing, and dining, and 
living in public is the heavy penalty paid for such 
enjoyment. Some, however, seem to think that it is 
cheap at the price. 

In the morning we sally forth on a tour of in- 
spection through the streets of Jacksonville. The 
roads are so heavy with deep sand, that driving is 
attended with much dust and discomfort. A lumbering 
vehicle passes us on the road and we are enveloped 
in a cloud of fine white sand, and grope our way with 
closed eyes until it has had time to settle itself. No 
one, unless disposed to self-martyrdom, will think of 
entering a vehicle except under direst necessity ; but 
there are delightful little street cars, running on an 
iron tramway, which take you the entire round of 
the city, past all the hotels, the stores and principal 
thoroughfares, and bring you back to the starting- 
place for five cents. Walking is here a most delight- 
ful exercise ; the side-walks everywhere are laid with 
light springy planks on which it is a pleasure to 
tread. We stroll on in a kind of go-as-you-please, 
walking-made-easy fashion, as though we never 
wanted to stop. The streets are all wide, and beauti- 
fully shaded with vigorous young water-oaks, whose 
luxuriant green foliage is a contrast to the pines and 
palmettoes we have lately been passing through. So 



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136 Down South. 

rich and so dense is their wealth of leaves, so exten- 
sive their branches, that in places they reach above 
our heads across a roadway seventy-two feet wide, 
and we walk on under an arching roof of green ; so 
rapid is their growth in these latitudes that some 
were pointed out to me which had attained to ten 
feet circumference in forty-two years. Some grow 
strong and lusty in the clinging clasp of the mistletoe, 
and are only saved from being smothered in its 
tender embraces by the pruning-knife, which cuts 
down and strews the ground with all such pleasant 
parasites as would otherwise sap the strength and 
destroy the life of the strong young oaks. Which- 
ever way we turn we look through long vistas of 
green. 

The homes of the settled population of Jackson- 
ville are very beautiful, and are built in pretty 
fanciful styles — no sameness nor dull uniformity any- 
where. Some are surrounded by blooming gardens, 
for here the gardens bloom all the year round ; as 
one flower fades and falls another takes its place, so 
the floral army is always *' in position." Some are 
covered with creeping plants and vines, others buried 
in orange-groves or embowered in shrubs, oleanders, 
and magnolia trees. There is no unsightly or in- 
congruous feature anywhere in this lovely city ; it 
is literally composed of handsome hotels, elegant 
dwellings, and smiling gardens. The shops are 



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Floridian Curiosities. 137 

congregated on one spot, instead of being scattered in 
odd corners throughout the city, and are situated in 
a long line on Bay Street, where you may enjoy a 
pleasant promenade and transact your business at 
the same time. In these shops you will find every 
possible commodity of merchandise, from the baby's 
teething coral to the grandfather's gravestone, for such 
articles de luxe are sometimes wanted even in Florida. 
A brisk trade is carried on in all kinds of Floridian 
curiosities in this beautiful semi-tropical city. You 
may buy bracelets and earrings of delicately-tinted sea- 
beans, set in silver or gold. Some say that these beans 
aire the fruit of a leguminous plant, which drops from 
the pod into the sea ; others suggest that they are 
washed over from the vines which grow along the 
shores of the West Indies ; but wherever they come 
from they are here in abundance and in great variety 
of colours and shapes — some are opaque, some red, 
some a rich brown, and some (the choicest specimens) 
are smoothly polished and speckled like a leopard's 
skin. Here also may be found some beautiful speci- 
mens of Indian shell-work, and graceful plumes of 
dried grasses, either natural or dyed in all the colours 
of the rainbow. The ladies wear palmetto hats 
trimmed with leaves or feathery flowers made from 
these grasses — quite a new and extremely elegant 
style of millinery. But alligators' teeth are mostly 
in demand; gentlemen wear them on their watch- 



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138 Down South. 

chains, as studs, as buttons, even as ornaments to 
their umbrellas and walking-sticks ; the ladies wear 
them set in all kinds of fanciful ornaments. A lovely 
molar set in gold drops from her pretty ear, or a 
row of sharp incisors coil round her wrist and grin 
from their gold setting, as though they have just 
come from the dentist ; or they twine, half smothered 
in coral tongues or trellis-work of gold, about her 
neck. Situated on this street, too, are the principal 
banks and wholesale mercantile houses, the proprietors 
of which are so energetic and enterprising they bid 
fair to make this the chief commercial city in the 
state. The Aston Buildings, where every possible 
information concerning anything or everything may 
be obtained — a collection of legal, shipping, and in- 
surance offices — are situated on the corner of Bay and 
Hogan Streets. Close by, Mr. Greenleaf has quite a 
museum of rare specimens of Floridian curiosities, 
connected with a well-stocked bazaar, which is filled 
with all kinds of quaint things either for use or 
ornament. This is well worth a visit, as, in addition 
to other attractions, there is a kind of menagerie in 
the back part of the premises, where wild cats, owls, 
snakes, alligators, and many other monstrosities are 
on view. There is a large tank of infant alligators, 
varying from six inches to a foot long. These are for 
sale, and are greatly in request. I have seen them 
bought, packed in thick cardboard boxes with per- 



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The Streets of Jacksonville. 139 

forated tops, and sent as presents to friends in distant 
parts of the country, travelling by mail post-paid. 
I am told that they rarely meet with an accident by 
the way, but arrive safely at their journey's end, 
hungry, but in good condition — a rather unique 
kind of present, and decidedly embarrassing token of 
friendly remembrance. 

For nearly a mile this busy business thoroughfare 
is lined on either side with shops of every possible 
description — houses of entertainment and variegated 
open stores, wine merchants, barbers' shops, millinery 
stores, fancy goods; the windows gaily dressed, all 
aglow with bright colours and glittering ornaments. 
Elegantly dressed women and gentlemen, the jeMnesse 
dorie of the eastern cities, saunter to and fro. It 
seems as though a bit of Eegent Street had been 
cut out and plumped down on the skirts of this 
semi-tropical city. 

We turn a few steps out of this animated 
thoroughfare, and are in a perfect elysium ; we 
feel as though we had turned our backs upon the 
world, and are already on our way to paradise — 
we forget all about the serpent. Although it is 
still spring-time, the thermometer reaches to 85°. 
They tell us that that is the maximum summer 
heat, and that such weather is most unusual at 
this early season. The heat that would be un- 
endurable elsewhere is by no means oppressive 



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140 Down South. 

here; we enjoy a stroll through the shady streets 
at midday. Though the sun is at its zenith, there 
is no hot glare of light anywhere, but a soft delicious 
breeze is blowing — an " east wind " they call it, but 
it bears no resemblance to the stormy virago who 
plays that rdle in more northern latitudes, hurling 
down church steeples, playing bagatelle with the 
chimney-pots, and, worst of all, attacking with its 
biting breath poor helpless humanity. In vain man- 
kind buttons its greatcoat, and clasps its warm furs 
round it, the east wind finds out its weakest place, 
and plays the devil's own tune upon its naked nerves, 
racks its bones with rheumatic twinges, shooting 
neuralgic pains, making a target of the human body 
and hitting the bull's eye every time. Driven out 
of the open streets, people creep in and cower down 
at their own fireside, but it follows them, it cannot 
be kept out by bolts and bars ; as subtle and in- 
visible as thought it steals down the throat, gives 
an evil touch to the bronchial tubes, wrings the liver 
with a cruel hand, and even spoils the temper, like a 
wicked old wretch as it is. One doesn't so much 
mind facing the good honest blustering north wind, 
it is an open foe, and in some way you can defend 
yourself against it; but the east is a malicious in- 
sinuating enemy, it will attack you even in your bed 
before you have had time to put a woollen nightcap 
on. Here, however, it is soft and balmy, full of a 



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The East Wind. 141 

spicy fragrance ; it seems to come down new-born, 
straight from the gate of heaven, breathing the 
breath of angels, and laden with the soft airs of 
eternal spring. Who can tell ? Perhaps as it grows 
older and travels onward it may gather evil by the 
way, absorb the miasmic exhalations from the earth 
and from the miseries and vices of mankind till its 
temper is spoilt, and it becomes as hard, cruel, and 
bitter as the east wind of our own land — which we 
must again meet presently. But here all is fresh and 
delightful. We don't find in the face of the child 
the inborn sins of its manhood, so we revel in this 
balmy breeze, and give no thought to the east wind 
that may be afar off sweeping our native streets, 
holding our friends and our foes alike in its cruel 
grip. 

Down on the wharf the air is scented with straw- 
berry perfume, for, as I think I have said elsewhere, 
the great packing-houses are situated here, and trains 
and vessels fruit-laden come from all parts of the 
state and disgorge their treasures. An. immense 
trade in fruit and vegetables is carried on — early 
peas, young potatoes, asparagus, pine-apples, and 
strawberries being largely exported to the eastern 
and northern states ; business is brisk everywhere, 
but there is no confusion. Hundreds of hands are 
busy packing the rich luscious strawberries in the 
ice-boxes — ice above, ice below, ice everywhere ; then 



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142 Down South. 

they are hermetically sealed and sent to New York or 
elsewhere, arriving there in perfection, as though they 
were just fresh gathered. In front of the wharf, 
lying along the river, are several small pleasure boats 
and some large three-masted schooners, dipping and 
fretting and tossing their mastheads, as though they 
were in a hurry to get their lumber freight and 
be gone ; the huge mill is whirring busily, its iron 
teeth tearing the king of the forest to pieces as fast 
as it can, perhaps cutting up and slicing some of that 
large family of pines we have been lately passing 
through. Who knows 1 perhaps they may return 
one day shaped into the tall strong masts of some 
noble ship, bearing her fluttering sails on high, 
creaking and swaying in the wind as though 
struggling to get to their silent brotherhood on the 
plains up yonder, and tell them how much of the 
world they have seen, and what strange peoples they 
have borne across the seas. 

The busy wharves, the beautiful river, picturesque 
streets and Arcadian surroundings, make this first 
glimpse of Florida delightful. We have nothing 
to do but revel in the breeze and bask in the 
sunshine, and we do it. 

Jacksonville has so many advantages that it is 
rapidly becoming the favourite resort of travelling 
multitudes. So rapid has been its growth during the 
short peiiod of its existence that its population 



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A Winter City. 143 

already numbers about 11,000; it is everywhere 
lighted with gas, has an excellent water supply 
(though I cannot say much for the water, it should 
be used as an outward application only). The postal 
and telegraphic system is as near perfection as such 
arrangements generally are ; they have even the 
latest scientific improvement, the telephone. You 
may travel to and from anywhere and everywhere. 
There is a perfect system of river traffic, and 
trains are dashing in and out of the city all 
day long. 

It seems to us a pity that the invalid population 
should take their flight so early ; the weather is still 
perfect, and I am told it is likely to continue so 
for the next two months, when it will literally be 
emptied, even of its floating population. Some of its 
infatuated inhabitants live there all the year round ; 
they tell me it is delightful even in the height of 
summer — " there has never been a case of sunstroke 
known, there is no malaria, no fever," no anything 
that humanity needs to avoid. But these are in- 
terested folk ; I shall have something to say on that 
subject presently. 



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CHAPTER XL 

Fernandina. — Romance or history? — Dungeness. — To Tocor. — 
On board the boat. — Oddities. — ^A lovely water drive. 

A PLEASANT, slow, jog-trottiiig, line of railway 
connects Jacksonville with Fernandina, about fifty 
mil^s distant. It is a delightful old city situated on 
the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, first founded by 
the Spaniards in 1632, and has a most romantic 
history, on which, in my glimpse of these sunny 
lands, I have no time to dwell ; but then every 
city throughout these regions has an interesting 
history, and the history of one is the history 
of all — savage warfare with the Indians, internal 
struggles with the adventurous Spaniards, as one 
after another their flying expeditions came, each 
one firing the other with wonderful stories of the 
enchanted land, telling of "great stores of crystal 
and gold, rubies and diamonds" which were to be 
found therein. Again and again their vessels came 
and fought and plundered, and went or were driven 
away. Again and again the waves of humanity broke 
upon these shores ; some were wrecked and ruined, 



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Feknandina. 145 

some drifted and married and intermarried with the 
natives, and settled and flourished. 

The history of the land is full of romance, from its 
early discovery by Ponce de Leon, who came hither 
in search of the Fountain of Youth — that fountain 
which plays so sweet a tune, and sparkles and flashes 
a glorious baptism once in every life, and then is 
seen or heard no more. Men seek for it as a kind of 
holy grail, but find it not. Ponce de Leon shared the 
fate of the rest of the world, and instead of finding 
the Fountain of Youth drank of the bitter waters of 
death. He was driven back from these sunlands 
with great disaster, and retired to Cuba, where he 
died of his wounds, aggravated by disappointment. 

Deeds of crime, of cruelty, and of treachery, 
brightened here and there by the noblest heroism of 
which humanity is capable, mark the annals of 
Florida. The whole land is aglow with unwritten 
poetry, romance, and passionate combinations, which, 
gathered together, would supply the place of fiction 
for ages to come ; but through her many tribulations, 
quarrels, and martjnrdom, she has come out the 
peaceful, sweet land we see, teeming with the richest 
fruits and flowers of the earth. But here, even as in 
the paradise of old, there lurks a whole hydra-headed 
brood of serpents among the flowers. However, for the 
present, I must confine my attention to Fernandina. 

No trace remains of the original city. The houses 

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146 Down South. 

of the Spaniards and the huts of the natives are all 
swept away; it is fresh, new, and bright. It has 
many of the characteristics of Jacksonville, but is 
much quieter, and there is an appearance of quaint 
old-world dignified repose about it, which lively, 
bustling Jacksonville does not possess — the one, in 
festive dress, is always on the alert for pleasure or 
amusement, the other is sweetly suggestive of home 
and peace. 

The streets are wide and well shaded with fine oaks 
and magnolias ; the pretty houses are generally 
hidden away out of sight by the luxuriant growth of 
tropical flowering shrubs, and are surrounded by 
smooth lawns and gardens. There are no iron rails 
laid down, no cars running through the Arcadian 
streets, no trajfic, indeed, except the hotel omnibuses, 
plying leisurely to and from the railway station. The 
resident population is between two and three thou- 
sand, the number of course being largely increased 
during the winter months. Every arrangement is 
made for the reception and luxurious q,ccommodation 
of travellers. The '* Egmont " is the finest hotel ; it is 
beautifully situated, palatial in its appointments, and 
with a fine view of the town and surrounding country, 
in front of it a pretty little grove of palmettoes. 

Many people prefer Fernandina to Jacksonville as 
being quieter, cooler, and the climate more bracing, 
and less of a resort for fashionable invalidism. The 



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An Ocean Drive. 147 

surroundings are lovely, full of romantic strolls and 
pleasant wandering ways, where you may ramble 
without fear of getting into a swamp or plunging into 
a quagmire. One favourite drive, of which people 
never seem to tire, is through a lovely winding way, 
something like a Devonshire lane, with stretches of 
flowering shrubs and tangles of palmetto scrub 
lifting their shining leaves on either side. This leads 
to the sea-shore, about two miles distant from the 
town, where there is a wonderful beach of hard white 
sand as smooth and level as a ball-room floor. Here 
you may enjoy an uninterrupted drive for twenty or 
thirty miles, with the wild woodland country stretch- 
ing away on the one hand, and the white foam lips of 
the Atlantic lapping the shore on the other, while 
the briny breeze comes, laden with a thousand miles 
of iodine, fanning your cheek and expanding your 
lungs with its healing, health-giving breath; and, 
under the exhilarating spell of this invigorating air 
and glorious sunshine, you feel that ^* life is indeed 
worth living," and have no desire to debate upon 
the question. 

This drive, within such easy access of the town, 
brings many visitors to Fernandina. Some enjoy the 
pleasant stroll through the woodland way to the 
beach ; those who are not sufiiciently strong or ener- 
getic enough to enjoy the luxury of walking, drive 
there, for, during the season, there are plenty of 

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148 Down South. 

comfortable carriages on hire, and this remarkable 
sea-shore presents quite a gay and animated 
appearance. 

There are many other attractions in the immediate 
vicinity of Fernandina, and among them is a pleasant 
ride to a romantic old fortification, now a picturesque 
ruin — Fort Clinch, which lies at the northernmost 
point nearest the Georgia line, and with which 
many quaint histories are connected ; on these I have 
no time to dwell. No one should leave Fernandina 
without paying a visit to Dungeness, which is 
situated on Cumberland Island. A tiny steamer 
sailing from Fernandina takes you there in about 
an hour. 

Cumberland Island is about eighteen miles long, 
and averaging a mile in width. The magnificent 
domain of Dungeness, situated at the southernmost 
end of the island, occupies about one-third of its total 
area. It was presented to General Nathaniel Green 
by the State of Georgia, in acknowledgment of his 
services to the South. 

The original mansion was burnt and totally 
destroyed during the early part of the civil war, 
but the grand old ruin still stands firm as a rock 
with its battlemented walls and tumbling towers ; 
while, instead of crumbling away, the coquina walls 
seem absolutely to have been so hardened by the 
action of the fire as to be almost time-defying. This 



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DUNGENESS. 149 

property has passed from the hands of the Green 
family, and I am told that the present owner talks of 
pulling down the ruin and building a modern man- 
sion on the site thereof. Social opinion lifts its voice 
loudly against such an act of vandalism, but a man 
has a right to do as he likes with his own; and 
reverence for the past and love of the picturesque 
must be inborn, it cannot be ingrafted on a 
commonplace mind, even though its owner be a 
millionaire. 

The visit of a single day to Dungeness is nothing, 
you will want to go again and again, and you could 
occupy your time in no better way. The sail thither . 
across the smooth waters of the Sound, with the 
green land lying around it, is delightful, and once 
ashore you feel as though you would never tire of 
wandering through this enchanted land, which is 
teeming with unwritten poetry and romance. There 
are quaint gardens aglow with brilliant flowers, fruit 
trees and apple orchards, labyrinthine walks through 
glorious avenues and groves of live oaks and magnolias 
— a luxuriant growth of tropical green is everywhere. 
Now with entranced eyes you gaze on some mag- 
nificent view of land and water ; passing onward 
through tangled vines and scenes of Arcadian love- 
liness you come upon a glorious beach, with the 
sea waves softly rolling to and fro as though they 
longed to leap up and meander over the forbidden 



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150 Down South. 

land. There is plenty of work here for the fishing- 
rod and gun, but I fancy that the most in- 
veterate lover of either would be disposed to lay 
aside fishing-rod and gun and lounge in dreamy 
idleness through this sweet, romantic land, and at 
the day's end would be loth to leave it. 

At present there are no hotels in Dungeness ; 
people take their luncheon baskets and pic-nic on 
the ground, but no doubt when the spirit of 
improvement has swept the ruin away and smoothed 
the picturesque wrinkles from the face of the dear 
old island, "accommodation for tourists" will be 
speedily prepared ; the demand creates the supply. 
Although there is but one strip of railway leading to 
Jacksonville, and that runs through low-lying swampy 
land, yet one of the most important lines in Florida, 
the " Atlantic Gulf and West India Transit Railway," 
staarts from Fernandina and runs directly across 
the south-west part of the state to Cedar Keys. The 
Mallory line of steamers also call at Fernandina on 
their way to and from Charlestown and Savannah. 

Our next point of interest is St. Augustine ; in 
order to get there we have to return to Jackson- 
ville, sleep one night at the hotel, and take the 
boat the next day for Tocoi, which is twenty-five, 
perhaps thirty miles, up the St. John's river ; thence 
we go by train to St. Augustine in about an hour. 

It is a lovely morning ; earth, air, and sky seem 



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The River Steamer. 151 

to have joined in a glorious combination to make one 
perfect day. We take our last ramble through the 
sweet shady streets of Jacksonville ; there is not a 
creature abroad, only the song birds hold a jubilee 
as they flit to and fro among the tree tops overhead, 
and the leaves are rustling gently as though whisper- 
ing a last " Good-bye " as we pass beneath their cool 
green shadows. 

The steamer is waiting for us at the wharf, and, 
our luggage having been sent on before, we stroll 
quietly on board, ascend the wide staircase, and pass 
through the luxurious saloon, which is as elegantly 
fitted up as a London drawing-room, with handsome 
mirrors, painted panels, velvet hangings, sofas, lounges, 
and light cane rocking-chairs that can easily be car- 
ried from one part of the vessel to another. There 
is one table tastefully laid out for the sale of Indian 
work ; some of it is very beautiful, and well worthy 
of inspection. The art committee of ladies' needle- 
work might pick up many a valuable idea therefrom. 
There is also a stall for the sale of newspapers, 
magazines, and books. Everything is arranged to 
make our temporary sojourn pleasant. Some of our 
fellow-passengers-to-be have deposited themselves in 
the cosiest nooks — some curled up in easy chairs, 
some stretched on sofas before the windows where 
they can enjoy the passing prospect " at ease." One 
pretty pale girl, who has evidently been travelling 



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152 Down South. 

all night, lies covered up fast asleep; another is 
training a youthful alligator to recognise her voice 
and follow her about. Some curious specimens of 
Eastern and Western humanity, and some few of 
our own countrymen, who seem manufactured ex- 
pressly for foreign travel — and foreign travel only — 
are also " on view." One has already taken posses- 
sion of the piano, which appears to be suffering from 
internal dilapidations ; he meanders over • the keys 
in an aimless, objectless way, and gets nothing out 
of them except an occasional squeak or series of 
scaley groans, as though the torture is more than 
they can bear. A young fellow comes along, fol- 
lowed by a poodle dog walking decorously on its 
hind legs, and carrying a valise in its mouth with 
a solemnity suited to the occasion. However, as 
soon as it is released from its responsibilities its 
natural spirit comes out; it runs round and round 
after its own tail, and finding it can't catch it leaves 
off like a sensible human being (when human beings 
are sensible and leave off hunting the impossible) ; 
but as he (for it is a he) ^^ has got no work to do," 
he resolves to enjoy himself to the best of his canine 
fashion. He makes short runs after everybody's 
skirts or pantaloons, trots away with an old lady's 
basket, drops it, springs up and tumbles down, 
yelping and barking with delight. When he is 
tired he leaves off, lies down, lolling out his tongue 



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A Canine Traveller. 153 

as though he wanted it to be examined by a doctor, 
and pants as though his heart was trying to break 
through his ribs. One crusty old gentleman with 
weak nerves starts a theory that the dog is mad. 
Some take the alarm, and the poor brute is cuflfed 
and hunted from under tables and chairs and sofas 
and at last is inveigled out upon the deck under 
false pretences — deluded by the idea of " rats " — 
and is tied to a rail, where he remains a prisoner 
till our journey's end. We carry out a couple of 
rocking-chairs and keep him company, cheering him 
with a kind word and occasional pat, which he per- 
fectly understands, and in his mute, pathetic way 
shows us that he quite appreciates our sympathy. 
Meanwhile the bell has rung, and we are cast oflf 
from the shore and started on our brief water trip. 
The river stretches its slow length lazily before and 
behind us in a state of dreamy calm, as though it 
wanted to lie still and enjoy one brief, undisturbed 
holiday ; it has no freight ships to bear on its breast 
to-day, and resents the intrusion of our pleasure 
steamer ; it turns its tide away and will give us 
no help whatever, but runs after us now and then 
in light, foamy flashes as our paddle-wheel irritates 
it into action. 

This delightful water drive from Jacksonville to 
Tocoi is not perhaps the most picturesque portion 



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154 Down St)UTH. 

of the St. John's river, yet is full of interest and 
has many points of attraction for strangers. We 
glide between low-lying shores fringed with branch- 
ing reeds and waving grasses, closed in the distance 
by serried ranks of fine old forest trees and stretches 
of evergreen shrubs ; it is full of primitive simplicity, 
peace, and delicious quietude. We feel at peace with 
ourselves and all the world as we glide along this 
placid river, its tranquil surface only broken by the 
reflection of the floating clouds above it, which are 
mirrored therein as in a looking-glass ; here and there 
we pass a tiny vessel with white sails set and the 
stars and stripes fluttering from its masthead. Pre- 
sently we come to Orange Park, a neat little village 
wreathed with beautiful gardens and sentinelled by 
fine old forest trees, which stand in rank and file 
along the water's edge. There is a fine hotel here 
standing a short distance from, but in full view of, 
the river^ for the accommodation of winter visitors, 
to whom it furnishes most comfortable quarters. 

There are lovely spots to delight the eye and stii' 
the imagination of the passing summer tourist all 
along these low-lying lands, but there is not one 
wherein, if he is wise, he will linger beyond the 
passing day, unless he is prepared to order his funeral 
beforehand. 'During the winter there are no more 
delightful residences than here by this river side ; 



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RivEB Scenery. 155 

we pass by one that looks like a bit of paradise cut 
out and laid down upon these smiling shores, with 
its tangle of trees and vines, and wild fruits and 
flowers, and birds of bright plumage flitting to and 
fro. But woe be to him who in summer is tempted 
to linger here ; it is as the beauty of the fair frail 
charmer, blooming and dimpling with smiles in the 
sunlight, but when the night comes breathing disease 
and death. Most of these attractive places are 
deserted as the hot weather sweeps on, except by 
those whom necessity compels to face the evils from 
which they cannot fly ; some get acclimatised, but all 
sufier more or less from the damp dews and fevers. 
But the time for these malarial fiends to walk abroad 
has not come yet ; we are still in the full swing of 
the healthful weather — of bright sunshine and sweet, 
fresh breezes. 

Presently our attention is directed to Mandarin, 
a village made up of orange groves and fruit 
orchards. Some distance ofi*, on the elevated land 
of the east shore, and plainly visible through its 
luxuriant leafy surroundings, stands the beautiful 
home of Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe; it is built 
like a Swiss chalet, with wide verandahs covered 
with climbing plants running round it. Some few 
miles farther up we pass Magnolia, another settle- 
ment of much the same description. Next we come 



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156 Down South. 

to Green Cove Springs, a winter resort of some 
importance, which is largely patronised by healthy- 
minded invalids. 

There are two fine, well-appointed hotels there, 
wide shady lanes leading straight up from the river 
wherein some pretty cottage homes are nestling, 
though these, like the rest, are left to run to seed 
when the earth is at its loveliest, and the June roses 
begin to bloom. 

The springs from which this place takes its name 
are situated in the centre of the town and in close 
proximity to the hotel. The water is clear and 
sparkling, and is used for bathing as well as for 
drinking purposes ; it is classed among the healthiest 
of the sulphur springs. We pass more orange groves, 
the trees partly stripped of their golden fruit, for 
the gatherers are hard at work, and the oranges are 
lying in heaps upon the ground like mounds of 
yellow cannon balls. One or two scattered villages 
and we reach Tocoi, when we take the cars for 
St. Augustine. 

Tocoi is nothing but a rough wooden shed dignified 
by the name of a railway station, where tourists, 
when they have landed from the boat, may find 
temporary shelter from the sun's burning rays while 
they wait — and they always have to wait — for the 
train to carry them on ; as there is only one narrow 



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The Station at Tocoi. 157 

line of rail and one train passing to and fro this 
waiting process is sometimes trying to the patience. 
There are not more than half-a-dozen of us landed 
from the steamer, and having seen us safely off her 
deck she gives a little shriek of delight, as though 
glad to be rid of us, and puffs on her way again. 
We glance round upon our somewhat dingy, dirty 
surroundings, then along the line for our train. 
There are no signs of it ; there is nothing in sight 
but a miserable shanty in the last stages of dilapida- 
tion. Outside, in the tumble-down porch, a coloured 
woman with a gaudy handkerchief tied round her 
head is busy at the washtub, while her dusky brood 
are tumbling about with a colony of fat pigs and 
long-legged Cochin-Chinas. We' seat ourselves on a 
hamper under the eaves of the shed — ^it is close and 
fusty inside — and wait. 

Presently a train that does not seem much larger 
than a child's plaything comes puffing slowly along 
as much as to say, " Tm coming ! Tm coming 1 
Don't be in a hurry." 

We enter a miniature car, wherein we sit three 
abreast; our Liliputian engine gives a series of 
asthmatic gasps, as though it had hardly strength 
to carry itself along, and objected to its living 
freight, but it is presently lashed by its fire fiend 
into obedience, and sets off with a jerk. 



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158 Down South. 

Our road lies through the densest of dense jungles, 
a wild and seemingly impenetrable forest, whose 
tangle of palms, cypresses and oaks, all entwisted 
with heavy Spanish moss, 

** Lets not one sunshaft shoot between ! " 

After a delightful drive of about an hour and a half 
our little toy train rings a tinkling bell, and we 
slacken our already slack pace into the shed dignified 
by the name of the St. Augustine depot. 



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CHAPTER XII. 

St. Augustine. — ^A land of the long ago. — Achat with a Spanish 
antiquity. — Quaint streets. — City gate. — ^Fort Marion. — 
The old Slave Market. — ^The monuments. — ^The Plaza. — 
Cathedral and Convent. 

Another morning breaks, a worthy successor to the 
last ; it seems made up of some heavenly alchemy — 
a tissue of golden glory and shimmer of silver 
sheen. 

Over the silent sea and yet more silent land a 
supreme stilloess reigns, unbroken by the rustle of 
leaves or whirr of the invisible insect world. The 
great sun hangs like a ball of fire in the pale skies, 
and fills the land with dazding light. The green 
earth, with all her wealth of fruit and flowers in her 
lap, seems wrapt in a sweet languor, as though she 
had fallen asleep and was smiling in her dreams ; 
while her giant sons of the forest and straggling 
children of the plains lift their leafy fingers to their 
lips, and whisper to the wandering wind, " Hush ! she 
is weary, let her rest," and the red roses and white 
lilies nod their heads drowsily and sleep with her. 



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160 Down South. 

*The very dogs doze dreamily in the sun ; they don't 
seem to have a good honest bark, or vigorous wag of 
the tail, left in them. Life, the biisy bustling nine- 
teenth-century life we know of, exists not here. We 
feel as though we had gone to sleep in the world 
of to-day and been carried away in our dreams, 
and woke up in an ancient city of two hundred 
years ago. 

This dear, romantic St. Augustine ! It is not grim 
with age, nor grey and hoary with the rust of time. 
It is like an old-fashioned beauty who has been lying 
in state through these long years, pranked in all her 
finery of feathers, furbelows, paint, powder, and 
patches, and now wakes up and walks and talks 
with us in the quaint stilted phraseology of old 
days. Never was change of time and place so 
sudden, so strangely felt, as the transition from 
briUiant Jacksonville and pretty pleasant Fernandina 
to this quiet, quaint old-world city, wherein the dignity 
and simple grace of the Spanish cavaliers who first 
conquered, settled and peopled it, seems still to 
linger ; we can almost fancy we see their shadowy 
forms stoop their plumed heads as they pass in and 
out of their ancient homes, with gilt spurs jangling 
and swords clanging at their heels. We are steeped 
to the lips in the spirit of the middle ages all round 
us, and everywhere we recognise the features and 
individualities of days dead and gone. 



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The Old Coquina Homes. 161 

The hotels, built expressly for the service of the 
travelling world, are the only touches of modern life 
we find herein — no other thing of modern birth 
dares lift its head in St. Augustine. As a rule the 
inhabitants seem made to match the place — indeed, 
they are a part of it. Many are the descendants of 
the early settlers, and they and their fathers before 
them have lived there all their days, and still occupy 
the ancient dwellings of their race. 

Passing by one of these old Coquina homes I saw 
an old Spaniard sitting in the porch smoking his 
pipe, while his granddaughter, a bright-eyed brunette, 
sat rocking her baby by his side, while an immense 
fuschia tree in full bloom shook out its crimson 
flowers above them. I stopped to inquire the way to 
the " city gate." He rose up, tall, straight, erect to 
his full height, over six feet, doffed his cap, and 
with the stately courtesy of his race came down, 
leaned over the fence, and directed us on our way, 
adding : — 

" You're strangers, I think ? A good many come 
here nowadays." 

We were in no hurry to go on ; seeing he was 
conversationally inclined, we gratified him, and our^ 
selves likewise; we lingered for a pleasant chat — 
one gains so much in these wayside gatherings. He 
volunteered some bits of interesting information 
about the place, about his family, and about himself. 

M 



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162 Down South. 

I made some touristical observation about the ap- 
pearance of the city and its salubrious situation, and 
inquired how long he had lived there. 

" I was bom with the century/' he said, " and I 
was born here in this very house I live in." 

" Why, you don't look like eighty years of age," 
I remark. 

'* No, nor I don't feel like it, lady," he answered ; 
" but Tm in my eighty-second year, and I feel hale 
and strong yet. Fve lived through some troublous 
times, too; it hasn't always been fair weather here 
in St. Augustine." 

Seeing we were interested in anything concerning 
St. Augustine, and anxious to glean any scraps of 
information, he opened the gate and invited us to 
" walk in " and rest. As we were scarcely a hundred 
yards from our hotel we did not want to ** rest," but 
we walked in nevertheless and sat down in the porch 
and prepared for a gossip ; it was easy to lead him 
to talk of the old days, he seemed to enjoy fighting 
his battle of life over again. 

" Yes, I've seen a good many changes," he said, 
warming to his work. " Few men have lived a life 
out on one spot and seen so much — so many revolu- 
tions, things, thoughts, governments and people 
changing, but the place remaining just the same ; 
there's been no pulling down old landmarks in 
St. Augustine, and the wear and tear of time isn't 



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A Chat with an Old Inhabitant. 163 

much. You see the city is all built of coquina,, and 
that is stronger than stone — the older it is the harder 
it becomes. Yes, Fve seen the British flag flying 
from the old fort, the Spanish banner flying ; now we 
are under the eagle's wing, and the stars and stripes 
are fluttering over us." 

" I suppose you would as soon live under one rule 
as another ? " I venture to say. 

" Provided they rule well, yes ; and we've nothing 
to complain of now ; the laws are easy, and we are 
left to live and work in peace, though up to the last 
few years we've been liable to hostile incursions of 
the Indians. Why, I've seen them swarm over the 
bastions yonder, and come swooping and yelling 
through the streets, fiUing the air with their hideous 
war-cry — ^such scenes, dear ladies, as I dare not tell 
you of; now we are under the American flag, and, 
the Blessed Lord be thanked, we are at peace." 

He took us through his orchard at the back of the 
house, and on to a small orange grove of about an 
acre, which he proudly informed us he managed all 
himself. We gathered and ate some oranges — 
deliciously cool and refreshing they were ; he apolo- 
gised for their size and scarcity, as the trees had 
been stripped of their finest fruit some weeks ago. 

As yet we had only caught a general view of 
St. Augustine, and we hurried on to make acquaint- 
ance with its special features. The streets are 

M 2 



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164 Down South. 

narrow and crooked, varying from ten to twenty 
feet wide, the houses having verandahs or balconies 
jutting out overhead so close together that the ladies 
thereon can almost shake hands across from one side of 
the road to the other. There are no regular pave- 
ments or sidewalks, and the roads are laid with broken 
oyster or mussel shells. The houses are mostly built 
of a kind of compressed shell-stone called '* coquina,*' 
which is quarried from the island of Anastasia, that 
lies about a mile across the harbour and separates 
St. Augustine from the Atlantic Ocean. This is the 
oldest European settlement in America, and was so 
settled long before the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers. 
The most picturesque and romantic of all the quaint 
old streets is George Street, with its curious houses 
and hanging balconies clinging along the fronts 
thereof, and are generally covered with climbing 
plants. The white coquina walls rise straight and 
bare direct from the roadway; the windows are 
small and closely curtained, as though the old Spanish 
dons still jealously guarded their hidden beauties from 
the sight of man. There is an air of great seclusion 
everywhere — we might be wandering through an 
oriental city ; but we know that behind these bare 
walls there are blooming gardens of oleander, mag- 
nolia, orange and lemon trees ; occasionally we get 
a glimpse of some rich striped lily or glowing 
passion-flower nodding over the wall. 



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The Ancient City Gate. 165 

Mr. Lorillard has a beautiful villa here — a touch of 
to-day in the land of the yesterdays. It is of quaint 
though modern architecture, and is full of gabled 
ends and corners. The smooth-shaven lawn and 
flower gardens are simply railed in and in full view 
of the passer by. Whichever way you turn you 
catch a breath of poetry and romance ; a scent of 
the days gone by clings round the ancient homes 
and pervades the air, having a subtle effect upon 
our spirits. We fancy we hear the clang of arms, 
and the long-silent voices ringing in the air, and 
shadowy forms are gliding beside us, haunting the 
old scenes where they walked and talked so many 
centuries ago. 

At the top of St. George Street stands the ancient 
city gate, which once formed part of the old stone 
wall which, running from shore to shore, protected 
the city from hostile incursions. The greater part 
of the wall has long since disappeared, but a rude, 
rugged, moss-covered mass clings around, as though it 
helped to support, the tall ornamental towers which 
once rose up on each side of the city gate, and which 
still stand massive and strong, like sentinels who will 
not be beaten from their post, though a great gap 
yawns where the gate has fallen from its rusty 
hinges. Coining through St. George Street we look 
straight through to the wide stretches of country 
beyond. The sentry boxes scooped out of the solid 



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166 Down South. 

wall are there still, exactly as when the last guard 
stepped from them in obedience to the bugle call, 
when the sun had set and the sentry was relieved. 
This is, perhaps, the most ancient and certainly the 
most picturesque ruin in this portion of the country. 

Passing between the still stately towers we come 
in full view of Fort Marion, one of the most attrac- 
tive features of St. Augustine. It was commenced 
in the year 1592, but was not completed till the year 
1756. It is a remarkable, fine, and imposing struc- 
ture — ^grand, grey, and massive, standing on a gently 
rising hill outside the town, and lifting its gloomy 
front towards the sea. No ruin is Fort Marion, but 
perfect in all its parts, stamped only with the desola- 
tion and dreariness which must brood over any place 
that is deserted and unused for a certain number 
of years. 

The labour of construction is said to have been 
wholly performed by negro slaves and prisoners of 
war. The moat is now dried up and overgrown with 
grass and rank weeds, but there are the drawbridges, 
the massive arched entrance, the barbican, the dark 
passages, frowning bastions, and mysterious dungeons. 
A whiskered sergeant — a remnant of military glory — 
has charge of the fort, and lives in a pretty, rose- 
covered cottage outside. In company with several 
other tourists we explored the curiosities of the old 
fort. One large dingy stone chamber, with vaulted roof 



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Fort Marion. 167 

and damp floor, like a gigantic cellar, was occupied 
by the townspeople, who came flocking to the fort 
for shelter some few years ago when the place 
was threatened by an irregular army of piratical 
marauders ; the ashen embers where they baked their 
last loaf of bread still lie upon the iron plate, and 
the empty oven yawns hungrily open. This apart- 
ment, itself but dimly lightly, leads into a huge, 
dark dungeon, black as Erebus ; but the " dark 
dungeon " par excellerice lies beyond, and to this 
treat-in-store we proceed. Chill, black, and dismal 
as the grave, is this partly-underground dungeon, 
where in 1835 two skeletons were found chained to 
the wall — victims, no doubt, to some cruel Spanish 
inquisition. We stand shivering in its chilly black- 
ness while our guide gives us fragmentary sketches 
of the history of the fort. The last prisoners con- 
fined here were a number of refractory Indians, 
stirrers-up of trouble, horse-thieves, and general 
marauders, who were sent thither by the order of 
United States Government in 1874, but were released 
in 1878. In no cruel dungeon like this *' dark cell," 
however, were these " braves " confined. A large, 
casemented chamber was prepared for their reception, 
they were taken out in squads for exercise, and un- 
der proper surveillance were even allowed to bathe. 
They have left their sign-manual upon the walls — 
specimens of Indian art in the shape of sundry 



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168 Down South. 

sprawly sketches of man and beast. For, as it is 
weU known, the Indians are fond of drawing, and 
will draw on anything and with any kind of material 
that will make a mark. They will even exchange a 
surplus squaw for a few pencils or paint brushes. 
Crude and out of all proportions as their productions 
are, they illustrate the minds and peculiar proclivities 
of the people. An Indian never represents himself 
as standing, dancing,* or walking; he is always on 
horseback, and always fighting against fabulous 
numbers, and always a conqueror, riding victorious 
over a score of prostrate foes. We pass through an 
antique chapel, whence the worshippers have fled 
" into the silent land " and left it deserted except for 
the ghostly echo which rises up and follows us as 
we pass through. We peep through dusky passages, 
ramble up and down crumbling stone stairs, cross the 
barbican, pass many worm-eaten oaken doors which, 
we are told, " lead nowhere in particular," and presently 
emerge upon the grstssy, battlemented slopes of the 
old fortification and look out across the bay, over the 
island of Anastasia, to the sea beyond. After wan- 
dering for a brief period through these gloomy 
precincts, and inhaling the damp, imprisoned air of - 
the dungeons, it is pleasant to stand in the sunlight 
and breathe the fresh air of heaven again. We 
promenade the battlements and look down upon 
the lovely fort with barbicans and towers, esplauades. 



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The Lovers' Walk. 169 

« 

drawbridges, and grass-grown moat spread out before 
and around us. Lifting the eyes and gazing further 
off we have a magnificent land and sea view, with 
the quaint old city with its lovely gardens grouped 
at our feet. 

We meet many other promenaders who, like our- 
selves, appreciate the glorious view, except in some 
cases when the view is bounded by a sun-bonnet on 
one side and a wide sombrero, shading a bearded 
masculine face, upon the other. There was Darby 
enjoying the evening air, with his fat wife Joan 
trudging by his side ; and here was a tall young lady 
of Amazonian deportment solemnly parading side 
by side with her latest conquest — a small, meek 
young man, who had evidently no strength to resist 
capture and could not close his ears to the voice of 
the charmer. He wore spectacles and a blue necktie, 
reminding one somewhat of a pet sheep being led by 
a blue ribbon ; one half expected to hear him reply 
with a soft " Baa — aa " to the tender tones of his lady- 
love. Now in turning a shady corner we come upon 
a pair of time-honoured flirts, who had left their 
youth a long way behind them, and are now shooting 
their blunt little arrows at one another, both well 
practised, and evidently little damage is done on 
either side. 

Descending presently fi:om our vantage ground, we 
turn our backs upon the romantic old fort, looking 



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170 Down South. 

so grey and lonesome in the sunlight ; its glories 
have passed away, and its peaceful solitudes have 
become the haunt of tourists and travellers ; the 
green lizards swarm in its sunny corners, and men 
and women linger through long summer evenings in 
its shady nooks, and make love beneath its frowning 
battlements. We pass along the sea wall, which is of 
coquina, like most of the buildings here, and is about 
a mile long, forming a magnificent promenade ; it is 
elevated above the roadway, and being only two feet 
wide it gives no encouragement to the " gay and 
festive throng " or social gathering on moonlit 
evenings. People generally march in single file and 
take the air in a solemn business-like fashion, though 
occasionally a pair of young, slim creatures cling 
together and walk side by side, by no means inclined 
to carp at the narrowness of the wall, which compels 
one arm to slide round the other waist, and with a 
kind of forced pressure to " hold on " to save the 
other fi:om falling. On one side is the water, stiU as 
a lake, yet indescribably seeming to breathe the " salt 
sweet fragrance " of the vast Atlantic beyond. 

The pretty vessels of the yachting club, with white 
sails fluttering, are curtseying to their own shadows 
on its surface. On the other side, about three feet 
below the sea wall, is a wide, smooth, shell road, 
where you may enjoy a delightful drive or promenade 
au cheval ; here and there are stone steps leading 



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The St. Augustine Climate. 171 

up to the wall, so that you are not obliged to march 
along its whole length, or leap down at the risk of 
breaking your neck. Fronting the water on the 
other side of the road is Bay Street, the principal 
business thoroughfare of the city, where there are 
some excellent shops, and queer old houses which 
take boarders all the year round, for the winter cold, 
or summer heat, is never excessive in St. Augustine ; 
it is one of the few Floridian resorts which is pleasant 
at all seasons. The temperature, calculated by a 
study of the thermometer for the last ten years, is for 
summer about 80 Fahrenheit ; autumn, 70 to 75 ; 
winter, 58 to 60 — a most delightful temperature, 
especially as there is generally a soft balmy east wind 
blowing, though occasionally in the winter time a 
wild north-easter, in its fiercest mood, sweeps over 
the Atlantic, and wreaks its vengeance on St. Augus- 
tine and the surrounding coast. People are inclined to 
smash the thermometer which dares to register only 
sixty when this cruel wind is biting them through 1 

At the other end of the sea wall, opposite the fort, 
are the United States Barracks, jutting out at the 
water side ; there is generally a regiment stationed 
here, when the band plays every day at five o'clock 
during the season. Although this quaint dreamy 
old city is but a small place, there is much of interest 
to be seen here. 

There is the " Plaza de la Constitution," where the 



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172 Down South. 

good Christians burnt their brethren a century ago ; 
it is a large square, laid out with grass plots, and 
flower beds, with paths cut through, leading from one 
side of the Plaza to the other. In the centre stands 
the curious old market-place, roofed in at the top, but 
open on all sides ; this was the ancient slave mart, 
where ** God's image, carved in ebony," was bought 
and sold in most ungodly fashion ; there is the place 
where they stood, ranged in ro^s like cattle in a pen, 
so that their purchasers might walk to and fro ex- 
amining them from all points to see that they had 
their money's worth. They sit there now, these self- 
same slaves of the old days, with bright kerchiefe 
round their heads, surrounded by fruits and flowers, 
buying and selling on their own account, laughing, 
chaffing, bargaining with one another with the easy 
air that freedom gives. Close by is the graceful 
monument erected by the ladies of St. Augustine to 
the Confederate dead, whose names are carved upon 
the shaft. No matter how impoverished the land may 
have been, how ruined the people, in every Southern 
city, small or great, they have found money enough to 
erect a monument, — some most costly, some poetic, 
and all more or less artistic, to those who — 

"Fell while wearing the grey for them ! " 

There is another monument, somewhat weather- 
beaten, erected by the Spaniards to commemorate the 



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The Plaza and the Hotels. 173 

adoption of the Spanish institutions in 1812. Then 
there is the grey old rookery of a convent, where the 
withered old sisters sit for ever making lace— wondrous 
fine lace it is, and produced in such large quantities 
we wonder who buys it alL Fronting on the Plaza, 
also, is the old cathedral, with its quaint Moorish 
belfry, and still more quaint and ancient peal of bells, 
one of which bears the stamp of 1682. It is not 
much regarded from an architectural point of view, 
its antiquity is everything. Partly facing the Plaza, 
and partly facing the sea breezes, stands the St. 
Augustine Hotel. We preferred the ** MagnoKa," 
though its position is perhaps not so good ; it stands 
in the centre of that queer crooked St. George Street, 
and is as pretty and picturesque as, considering its 
name, it ought to be, with odd turns and angles, ver- 
andahs clinging everywhere covered with blooming 
flowers, and beautiful magnolias and banana trees in 
the delicious straggly old garden. The magnolias are 
not yet in bloom, but from their nest of leafy buds 
we catch a glimpse of the creamy flower, and the long 
purplish crimson leaves of the banana still shields 
the golden fruit from too quick maturity. The 
oleander is already covered with its luxuriance of 
crimson, pearly pink, and waxen white bloom, and 
the Japan plum tree laden with juicy fruit. 

Stepping out on the verandah in the early morning 
we find everybody sucking oranges in the most 



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174 Down South. 

solemn business-like fashion. The gentlemen go at 
it with a will, and generally work through a whole 
basketful of the golden fruit ; they make a hole at 
one end and suck with inflated cheeks, like a bevy of 
ancient cherubs blowing a trumpet, and suck in sweet 
silence, seemingly oblivious of all that is passing 
round them as they take their morning dose of this 
delicious nectar. Some of the ladies peel them 
with white slim fingers, and extract the juice as 
daintily as the bee extracts honey from the flower ; 
some of the uncompromising feminine family, " who 
have no nonsense about them," pull the orange to 
pieces, mangle its delicate tissues, and disembowel 
it with ruthless teeth. Some work as though they 
were sucking for a wager, and others go through 
their heap with slow solemn enjoyment. Those who 
have not eaten a fresh gathered orange in Florida 
don't know what an orange is. 

All round in the neighbourhood of St. Augustine 
are lovely orange groves, and long avenues with cedar 
hedges, and grand old mulberry trees with gnarled 
and knotted trunks, and heavy branches, that look as 
antiquated as the city itself Being desirous of 
entering into, and spending a little time in the 
inspection of some one of the many noted orange 
groves, we were directed to one owned by a promi- 
nent citizen, who would, we were assured, " make us 
right welcome ; " and armed with cards of introduction 



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Nobody at Home. 175 

we took our way to his residence. Passing along 
a magnificent avenue of stately trees, which bordered 
his extensive grounds, and closed above our heads 
shutting the sunlight out, we came to the large iron 
entrance gate. There was a bell, and we rang it, but 
nobody answered it except a large white cat, who 
emerged from a shrubbery, and rubbed against the 
gate purring and arching her back ingratiatingly as if 
inviting us to enter. Finding no response except 
this feKne welcome, we pushed open the gate and 
walked up to the house, the cat purring a congratu- 
latory purr at our heels as if she was very glad 
indeed that we had come. We ascended the *' stoop " 
{Anglicd, door steps), and rang the hall-door bell. 
No answer. We amused ourselves ringing at inter- 
vals ; and when we were tired of tinkKng the bell, 
which seemed to wake sepulchral echoes, we started 
on a tour of inspection around the house. It seemed 
as dead asleep as the Sleeping Beauty ; its eyes were 
all shut, the sun-bKnds all rigorously closed. There 
were seats on the piazza, and we rested for a while in 
the fragrant shadow of a great apoppinac tree, whose 
showers of dainty yellow blossoms fell Kke an 
odorous golden rain upon the grass, while the fairy 
flowers of the azalea, light as drifted snow-flakes, 
stirred as if breathing soft mysteries in the 
whispering balmy breeze. Meanwhile the cat jumped 
up on my lap and went to sleep, until we started 



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176 Down South, 

afresh on an exploration of the grounds ; then our 
feline friend escorted us, her comfortable and con- 
tented purr allaying the apprehensions of ferocious 
mastiffs which invariably beset us in strange quarters, 
though our secondary dread of steel man-traps, set 
for more harmful intruders than ourselves, kept us 
cautiously within the boundaries of the gravel walks. 
We found tool-sheds, arbours, bowers, stables, 
chicken-houses, dog-kennels and cottages, but not a 
sign of life except a portly hen and a brood of 
chickens, who fled to their coop at sight of our soft 
snowflake of an escort, whose emerald eyes dilated, 
and affectionate purring ceased at sight of them. 
Having explored the more domestic portion of the 
grounds, and still finding nobody to show us through 
the orange plantation, we proceeded to show ourselves 
through it. Is there a tree, I wonder, more beautiful 
than the orange, with its shining foliage of dark and 
glossy green, its scented snow of blossoms, its red- 
gold globes of fruit ! Here in St. Augustine, although 
too late in the season for the fullest beauty of the 
groves — the gathering being almost over — we still 
found here and there the flower and the fruit growing 
amicably together on sister boughs. We came upon 
one glorious tree, its graceful branches bending under 
the rich burthen of its fruit of fiery gold, glowing in 
that southern sunshine. We reached down a laden 
bough, and trespassed on the taken-for-granted 



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Dead Sea Fruit. 177 

hospitality of our unknown and unknowing host to 
the extent of an orange apiece. 

Long had we yearned to taste an orange plucked 
fresh from the tree ! Often had we anticipated the 
unrivalled freshness of the gushing juice of the fruit 
yet warm to the heart with sunshine, and exhaling 
still the fragrance of the dews of morning ! Now we 
had got our oranges, "fresh from the tree — dew, 
sunshine, &C., &c.," at last. We tasted the long- 
anticipated delicacy. Ugh ! our dainty morsel turned 
out to be the bitter rind, the biting acrid juice, of 
that species known as the " sour orange " ! What 
an excellent moral might have been deduced from 
this Dead Sea fruit of our desires ! It was a sermon 
in a bite ! But, unfortunately, there was nobody to 
whom to preach it, except the cat. We threw our 
oranges far, far away, sadder and wiser women. 
But the daughters of Eve are incorrigible, and, anon, 
we built our dreams again around a " fresh mango," 
and were again disillusioned. Yet unconvinced by 
many disenchantments, we still go on through life 
seeking our mango or our orange, ** fresh from 
the tree." 

But that afternoon's peregrination is still one of 
our pleasantest memories of St. Augustine. 

There are plenty of amusements and resorts in and 
around this quaint, mediseval-looking old place to 
entertain the tourist, when he has sufficiently taken 

N 



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178 Down South. 

into himself the aspect of this bit of the middle ages 
dropped down in the modem day of the bright 
New World. 

When you have seen all that St. Augustine itself 
has to show you, you may, with much profit and 
interest, extend your wandering, and cross over to 
inspect the coquina quarries and the fine lighthouse 
on St. Anastasia's Island, when the solitary keepers 
will, perhaps, tell you some stirring incidents of their 
lonely lives ; or you may sail down to the wonderful 
sulphur spring, which boils up from the ocean — ^its 
pale blue sulphurous water forcing its way through 
a hundred and forty feet of the salt sea waves. The 
current is at times so strong (for the spring is inter- 
mittent), that a short time ago one of the coast 
survey steamers was floated over the " boil " of it ! 

There is another delightful excursion passing 
through the city gate, over a smooth, pleasant road, 
till you turn off to San Sebastian Beach-, which forms 
a pleasant drive for many miles, when you may see 
the ruins of some old palisades, which at one time 
connected Fort Monsa with a stockade at San Sebas- 
tian. The excursion need only occupy a few hours ; 
unless you choose to linger by the way, you may 
return to St Augustine in time for dinner. 

There are plenty of occupations wherewith gen- 
tlemen may beguile the pleasant hours. They can 
indulge in shooting and fishing expeditions on the 



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Good-bye to St. Augustine. 179 

banks of the Matanzas river, and shoot their own 
game, catch their own fish, and cook their own 
dinners. It is not an uncommon thing for ladies to 
join in these excursions. They enjoy playing at 
" being gipsies " for a season ; they soon tire of it. 

On one balmy morning early we turn our backs 
upon the sweet-scented old-world city, and take the 
little fussy, jog-trot train back to Tocoi, carrying 
with us a host of pleasant memories of this delicious, 
dreamy, romantic St. Augustine. 



N 2 



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CHAPTER XIII. 

A chat by the way. — A steam bicycle. — Bough times. — 
At Ocala. 

The boat is waiting, bobbing up and down at the 
little rustic pier at Tocoi. The sun is laughing down 
upon us, with a face of shining gold, and the sweet east 
wind is fanning our cheeks with its breath of balm ; 
a sweep of sunny water lies before us, sea-gulls and 
strange birds are wheeling over our heads as we step 
on board, and are soon on our way to Palatka. 

We pass by pretty little hamlets and endless 
groves of orange and lemon trees, stretching inland 
from the low-lying shore ; most of them are already 
stripped of their golden fruit, but some have their 
branches still heavily laden. 

In about two hours we land at Palatka, a pretty 
bright little town, one of the scores of places which 
we are obliged to pass through with only a passing 
glance. Those who are tired of wandering and wish 
to rest, cannot do better than spend a few pleasant 
tranquil days here on the banks of the quiet river. 
There is an excellent hotel, ''The Palatka House," 



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We Find a Compatriot. 181 

where they will find comfortable accommodation and 
an excellent cuisine. We desire to reach Silver 
Springs and thence take the boat down the Ocklawaha 
river, of whose wonders we have heard so much that 
we prepare ourselves for disappointment. We don't 
quite know how to get there or whether we are to 
sleep on the land or on the river, but we are content 
to drift, being strong in the faith that things will 
come right somehow. 

We have not been long seated when our conductor 
comes along ; he punches our ticket, and smilingly 
adds a conjecture '* Ladies from England, I think ? " 

We modestly admit the fact. He claims nationality 
with us, and forthwith friendly relations are estab- 
lished between us. He sits down and enters into 
conversation. 

** You live in London, perhaps," he hazards as a 
preliminary observation. That fact ascertained, he 
adds excitedly, '* Ah ! then you must know my 
father, Mr. Augustus Brown ; he lives at Rose Villa, 
Lower Norwood, near by the Crystal Palace." I 
pleaded ignorance of Mr. Augustus Brown, represent- 
ing that these delightful suburbs were about ten miles 
from London's self, and that a pilgrimage to the 
Crystal Palace was not a thing of everyday occurrence. 

'' Ten miles ! " he repeated incredulously, '* why 
here we know everybody within a radius of a hundred 
miles ! Think again, you must know him, you mitst 



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182 Down South. 

have met him somewhere 1 He is a fine old gentleman, 
tall, thin, with grey hair, and a long beard — you'll 
surely remember him?" 

He looked so earnest that I was quite sorry to dis- 
appoint him by repeating my former statement, at the 
same time softening the blow by explaining the im- 
mense population of London and its suburbs, and how 
often people lived for^years without even knowing their 
next door neighbours. That was all very well, but 
not to know my father, " Mr. Augustus Brown," was 
quite another thing ! I'm afraid by my ignorance of 
the inhabitants of Lower Norwood I lost caste con- 
siderably in his eyes. He went about his business 
with rather a perplexed face and presently came back 
to us with the information : 

" You '11 have to change cars soon at Perry's Junc- 
tion for Ocala ; it isn't much of a place, but you'll 
have to sleep there, and in the morning take the cars 
for Silver Springs, about half an hour s ride." He 
then emerged from his ofiicial character and added, 
''Perhaps you'll be going back to England soon? 
Yes ? Well, I should like to give you my father's 
address." He fumbled through a tattered pocket-book, 
and extracted therefrom a crumpled piece of paper. 
" There, if you should ever be in that neighbourhood 
I hope you'll just give a call on my folks ; they'll 
make you right welcome, and please tell 'em I'm all 
right, and I hope to be home next fall" 



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Interesting Inquiries. 183 

I took the paper, but knowing that my chance of 
making the acquaintance of his esteemed parents was 
small I ventured to suggest that he would most 
likely forward that information himself. 

" No," he answered, " I'm not much of a hand with 
a pen ; somehow we get out of the way of it in these 
parts. I haven't written to the old folk for years, 
though I think of them often enough — God bless 'em 1 
I often picture to myself how they'll look when I 
first walk in upon 'em." 

" Take you for a tramp, most likely, and shut the 
door in your face," I suggest, somewhat flippantly, 
perhaps ; but he answered gravely : 

"Father might, but mother '11 know me, sure 
enough, though I left home at fourteen years old 
and I'm now thirty. But she^d know me, ay, even if 
I was in my coffin. And I should know her dear old 
face, even if we don't meet till we meet in heaven." 

We were constantly beset by similar inquiries 
from perfect strangers; the fact of our nationality 
once ascertained, somebody would accost us — on the 
cars, the platform, the hotel corridors, no matter 
where. ^ 

" Excuse me, but do you know my cousin, the 
Eev. Jonah Smith, a clergyman, curate of St. Jere- 
miah's, somewhere down in Cumberland, the place 
where my grandfather came from ? " 

Everybody seemed to think we must know their 



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184 Down South. 

relations — sometimes we found it very difficult to 
convince them to the contrary. Once I received a 
long letter, filling several sheets of foolscap, as long 
as a lawyer's long brief, setting forth a whole family 
history up to a certain period, marriages and inter- 
marriages, beseeching me to set inquiries on foot 
and transmit to them any information I could gather 
concerning their English relations, with whom they, 
the American branch, had held no communication for 
the last generation. 

To me there is something touching in this desire to 
claim kinship with the old family tree, whose branches 
are flourishing in all quarters of the habitable globe. 
It is so everywhere in the conservative South. In the 
more cosmopolitan north it is different ; as a rule 
nobody cares to claim kinship with anybody or any- 
thing, except perhaps Wall Street and the money 
market. 

At Perry's Point we changed cars, and took a 
" narrow gauge " line to Ocala. It was the first time 
we had been on the genuine *' narrow " gauge, and I 
fervently hope our last. Nothing could well be 
narrower, the rails being less than three feet apart ; 
the cars running thereon are almost the usual width, 
seating four passengers in a row, divided in the centre 
by a passage two or three feet wide. It was like 
travelling on a see-saw or a bicycle ; the cars oscillated 
fearfully from side to side, we had to hold on to the 



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The Narrow Gauge. 185 

straps for dear life ; even when it came to a stand it 
was not still, but slowly rocked from side to side. 

During this short journey we twice broke down, 
and were detained some hours while the injury was 
repaired. We complained of the danger and dis- 
comfort of this mode of travelling, at the risk of life 
and limb. I believe I was regarded by the whole car 
as a British malcontent ; nobody grumbled nor even 
lifted a disapproving voice. One lady seemed much 
surprised at our discomposure, and said, raising her 
placid brows and smiling sweetly : 

'' I dare say we shall get to Ocala all right ; there 
is no use in fretting. It is true the cars did topple 
over an embankment a few weeks ago — such things 
will happen sometimes ; a few limbs were broken, 
but nobody was killed ! Besides, we must all die some 
time, and / don't think it matters how or when. 
I really wouldn't be uneasy," she added consolingly, 
with a slightly contemptuous look upon her face. 
" I dare say it will be all right ; and if not," she 
shrugged her shoulders, "well, you know, as we 
say in our prayers, God's will be done." 

Alas ! I could not view the situation in this spirit 
of philosophical resignation ; but I resolved to sink 
myself no lower in the eyes of my self-possessed 
fellow-travellers, and sat through the rest of the 
journey with outward calm, but inward tribulation 
of spirit. It was long past midnight when we 



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186 Down Soute. 

reached our destination. It was a dark, moonless 
night, the rain was pouring in torrents, the thunder 
rolled and reverberated through the stormy air ; 
now and again the heavens opened and let a flood 
of lightning through, then closed and left us in 
utter darkness. The train stopped ; peering from the 
car windows we saw a light twinkling here and 
there, but no other sign of life. There were no 
omnibuses, no carriages plying for hire. We gathered 
our light hand-baggage together and followed the 
dreary procession to the end of the cars ; they all 
seemed to know where they were going, and one by 
one our fellow-passengers were swallowed up in the 
darkness. We stood on the car platform for a 
moment and peered out into the black night ; the 
deluge of rain was still falling. 

" There are no conveyances ! How are we to 
get to the hotel ? " we exclaimed, looking round 
in helpless bewilderment and addressing nobody in 
particular. 

"Take care, madam, take care — you'll be in two 
feet of water that way," cried a friendly voice arrest- 
ing my progress ; then taking possession of my 
parcels and of me, added, "It is awkward there 
being no conveyances on such a night as this; 
in fine weather it does not signify. The hotel 
is close by; pray take my arm. I live here, and 
know every step of the way." 



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We Arrive at Ocala. 187 

The train conductor volunteered his assistance to 
my companion, and swinging his lamp low to guide 
our faltering feet walked on before us. 

'* I am the clergyman here," said my escort in 
a kind gentle voice, as he pioneered me through 
a morass and across a pool of mud. My thanks be 
to him, although 1 never beheld his face, for, having 
deposited us at our hotel, he vanished into the night 
and was seen no more. 

We passed first through a kind of rough sitting- 
room, where some few of our fellow-passengers were 
already seated in placid contentment, waiting the 
hotel clerk's leisure. We were wet through, and not 
disposed to wait his leisure, so claimed his attention 
at once, and got it too, as a " lone female " in the 
South does generally manage to get her will and way. 

We were put in charge of a small boy with a 
big voice, who led us across a sort of courtyard 
towards a large building — the hotel proper. It seemed 
to be only a rough temporary erection, doomed to 
be speedily swept away to make room for some more 
commodious and imposing structure. A flight of 
rough wooden steps from the outside led to the 
interior, whither we slowly ascended, the wind and 
the rain beating on us as we went. We were shown 
to our room by a slovenly young woman with a 
strong Hibernian accent, evidently a late importa- 
tion from the Emerald isle. It was much more 



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188 Down South. 

comfortably furnished than we had expected from 
general appearances. Having relieved ourselves of 
our wet clothes, we went in search of supper, 
and, after groping our way through the empty ill- 
lighted passages, found a long low room illuminated 
by rows of tiny oil-lamps — the dingiest of dingy 
apartments, with tables spread, and surrounded by 
hungry troops of travellers. 

There was not much to eat, indeed nothing but 
leathery slabs of ham, fried eggs, and flabby 
omelettes; the thunder had turned the milk sour, 
so the cofice and tea was served plain, while soda 
and seltzer water popped and sputtered on all sides 
of us. 

The beds were fairly comfortable, and we arose 
the next morning to find a smiling sky promising 
a fair day for the trip down the Ocklawaha river. 

A little train (not a " narrow-gauge,'' we were 
thankful to find) bore us from Ocala to Silver 
Springs. 



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CHAPTER XIV. 

The "Okeehumkee." — The Silver Springa — The weird wonders 
of the Ocklawaha. 

A QUEER-LOOKING stumpy boat yclept the "Okee- 
humkee" was waiting for us at the head of the 
^* Silver Springs/' The vessel was short and broad, 
like a monstrous beetle with its legs cut off ; it was 
made to fit and float on the *' Ocklawaha " river and 
nowhere else. We stepped first on to a lower deck 
— crowded with coils of ropes and poles, and the 
miscellaneous belongings of the queer little craft — 
which was occupied by the engineers, stokers, and 
other stray hands, who helped to work the vessel; 
there was a big boiler, and a little engine, and a tiny 
cupboard of a kitchen, where operations for our 
mid-day meal were being vigorously carried on. 

Ascending a narrow flight of steps we are on 
the bow of the vessel — a wide balcony which occupies 
the entire front ; behind this, and entered by two 
glass doors from the balcony is the saloon, bay- 
fronted with windows all round, comfortably furnished 



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190 Down South. 

with sofas and easy chairs, and two round tables. 
Opening from this again is a narrow passage running 
through to the end of the boat, on each side of 
which is a row of tiny cabins — about twelve in all, 
narrowing towards the stem. There is what is 
called " accommodation " for a score or so of tourists. 
Foolish people think they are fortunate if they can 
secure a " berth ; " they don't know how much may 
be left of them in the morning. Mosquitoes are 
a hungry race, and make a meal of the sleeper. He 
goes to bed fair and well to look at ; when he gets 
up in the morning he can scarcely recognise his own 
face ! Wise people sit up all night, and when they 
are tired of the wonderful scenery (which is illumi- 
nated at night by huge flaming pine logs which 
blaze from a great iron cauldron just above the 
balcony) they doze in easy chairs, or roll themselves 
up like mummies and sleep on the sofas. Some sit 
up on the balcony all night smoking, and at intervals 
singing snatches of old songs, which fall pleasantly 
on the drowsy ears of the sleepers. 

I wonder if I can convey to any one an idea of the 
Ocklawaha river ! It can be compared with no other 
river that I have ever seen, heard, or read of, and its 
fairest wonders are at our starting point, Silver Springs. 
Looking forward I see nothing but a wide expanse of 
pale green water. Our steamer gives a series of short 
asthmatic puffs, and we are moving slowly over the 



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The Silver Springs. . 191 

surface of the Silver Springs — so slowly we are scarcely 
conscious of any movement at all. We lean over the 
side of the vessel, and look down upon a world of 
wonders ; we can hardly believe that it is really water 
we are passing through. It seems as though all the 
jewels from all quarters of the globe had been gathered 
tQgether and melted down, and poured into the great 
earth hollow we are gliding over. The spring is eighty 
feet deep, the water so clear that the sweet fairy 
flowers at the bottom of it seem to lie close at hand ; 
you feel as though you could lean over and pluck one 
from the bed, which seems to be formed of holes, 
arches, and deep crevasses of many-coloured rocks ; 
variegated blues and greens and greys, all amalga- 
mating together, beneath the soft rippling water, 
give it the many brilliant, ever-changing hues, till 
we feel as though we were sailing through a stream 
of liquid gems— opals and emeralds, amthysts and 
sapphires — enough to make gorgeous the purple robes 
of aU the kings of all the earth. Submerged trees 
are standing taU and strong in this watery world; 
long ribbon grasses are gracefully waving as though 
stirred by the breath of some fair floating Undine, 
and starry white flowers open their blue eyes dreamily 
as we glide slowly over their silent home. Silver 
scaled fish dart in and out from among the tall reeds 
and rocky islets, and infant turtles with their ugly 
awkward little bodies propel themselves along ; while 



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192 Down South. 

thin, long-bladed fish flash hither and thither like 
sharp swords wielded by invisible hands, crossing and 
recrossing, parrying, and thrusting — coming within a 
hairsbreadth, but never smiting. 

Our wee craft is only too brief a time crossing this 
" pool of wonders;" then we seem to be running straight 
into a wilderness — a veritable bit of the forest primeval 
— where a tangle of dense " hammock " seems to stop 
our watery way, but by a sudden turn our little 
vessel strikes an opening and takes us out of the 
Silver Springs, and on to the river. 

Thenceforth all the day long we are gliding through 
the sweetest, loveliest water lane in all the world ; 
winding in and out through mysterious wooded wilds 
— crooked and full of sudden turns and odd angles. 
We wonder how our queer little " Okeehumkee " finds 
her way along ; we fancy she must be jointed like an 
eel, or she could never wriggle her way through this 
leafy labyrinth. Sometimes, indeed often, she runs 
her snout against the shore, and the services of a huge 
black Titan, ** Joe," are called into action ; he jumps 
off the boat, and prods and pushes with a long pole 
till we are off again. Sometimes the river ties itself 
into a knot, but the little craft somehow threads her 
way through the loops and bows, and comes out at 
the other end of it. 

There are no banks on either side of this marvellous 
Ocklawaha river ; the w^ater runs on a level with the 



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The Ocklawaha. 193 

shore. Dense masses of jungle and wild forest lands 
sweep down and close it on either side with their 
leafy embrace ; so closely they clasp it, that often we 
cannot ^e a foot of water on either side of us, and 
the branches of the fine old trees reach their long arms 
across and interlock one with the other forming a 
grand overarching avenue above our heads. It is so 
narrow here and there that it seems as though by 
some strange magical process the green earth had 
been liquefied purely for our accommodation in pass- 
ing through, and anon the stream spreads out like 
a shining silver mirror in the heart of a jungle 
of overhanging trees. 

Never was there such variety of scenery on a 
single river ; it seems as though Nature had gathered 
all her forces here just to show how much she could 
do with her few favourite allies — the forest, rock, and 
stream. The trees are marching with us side by side, 
executing strange manoeuvres as we pass along, nodding 
their proud heads, and waving their blessing arms above 
us ; now it is a regiment of tall pines, the bright 
lances of sunlight glinting and flashing between their 
boughs ; then there is an awkward squad of scrub 
oaks, magnolias, and gums, lofty palms and dwarf 
palmettoes, with long grasses and all kinds of brilliant 
vegetation crowding about their roots, and luxuriant 
vines and shining mistletoe clinging and climbing 
round their naked trunks, clothing them with rich 



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194 Down South. 

verdure, and lost at last in their leafy coronals. All 
the glowing growth of the forest seems locked and 
interlocked together, as though the sons of the 
wilderness were engaged in a wrestling match, trying 
which could first uproot the other from the ancient 
soil. Now we face a phalanx of veteran oaks, clothed 
utterly, and their green boughs hidden, beneath mantles 
of beautiful Spanish moss ; generally it is of deep 
mourning grey, and hangs like a nun's veil gently 
swayed by the passing wind, then it is of a more 
silvery hue,**but always down drooping, as though the 
iron grey beards of millions of men had been shorn 
off and flung thither in sport by some wandering 
wind. Occasionally we come upon masses of strange 
and wonderful moss ; it is long, fibrous, and shining, 
and hangs in wavy tresses like the golden hair of a 
woman, as though some sweet Ophelia had been 
floating down the river, and the envious branches, 
determined that all should not be lost, stooped 
downwards, caught and tangled her glistening tresses, 
while the tide bore the fair form slowly on and 
the soft breeze still murmurs mournfuUy ** drowned, 
drowned, drowned." 

Here and there the scene widens, and half-a-dozen 
little fussy tributary streams hurry out from their 
mysterious depths to join the quiet Ocklawaha in its 
dreamy flow, and we push our way for a while through 
an extensive watery plain, where reeds and grasses, 



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The Alligator's Home. 195 

and fair white lilies, twine their delicate fibres 
together and try to stop our progress ; but we break 
through the prettj network as though it were a 
spider's web, and puff our ruthless way out of it. 
Now there are a flight of small, bright-plumaged 
birds, with the heron in pursuit, or a volley of long- 
necked cranes shoot with their discordant cry across 
our path, and an elderlj'- stork, judging from the 
length of his legs, stands at a safe distance and 
watches us from the shore. 

We glance up half-a-dozen narrow water lanes, take 
a sudden turn, and plunge again into the wilderness. 
A great ugly alligator, who has been sunning himself 
on a fallen tree trunk, lifts his horny eyelids stupidly, 
and lazily slips under the water as we come puflSng 
along. We are constantly coming upon these revolting 
creatures in the most unexpected places. Sometimes 
their leaden eyes simply stare, or they open their spiky 
mouths, as though they would like to swallow us, and 
don't stir. Familiarity breeds contempt. I suppose 
they have got so used to having their privacy invaded 
by our odd little steamer that they conclude it is only 
a friendly monster like themselves, and won't do them 
any harm. Time was when the " bang, bang " of the 
sportsman's gun went echoing through these solitudes ; 
but now tourists are forbidden to shoot alligators 
or any other thing from the decks of the Ocklawaha 
boats. 



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196 Down South. 

Sometimes we catch sight of a huge black snake 
wriggling its way up from the water and through the 
long grass till it vanishes from our sight; for it is 
here in these luxuriant and mysterious wilds that 
Nature hides the most hideous of her progeny* 
Creeping things and poisonous reptiles, that we shudder 
to think of, have their homes in these brilliant and 
luxuriant solitudes — the secret haunts of all-bountiful 
Nature, where man will not dare to penetrate. Or if 
he does he is seized by the foul fever-fiend, malaria, 
and faints and falls in the slimy swamps, with a 
creation of loathsome nameless things for his death 
companions. 

We make our way through a coil of green and are 
again in the narrow mazes of the mazy stream. Here 
and there at long intervals we pass a solitary landing- 
place, which leads by mule-tracks to some sort of 
civilisation far in the interior. Nobody gets oflF the 
vessel, nobody comes aboard. I don't believe anybody 
ever does. Why should they, unless they wanted to 
establish relations with the friendly alligators, study 
their lives and write their biographies, or be lost in 
the wilderness ? Now we come to a tall pine with a 
tiny red box impaled upon its trunk, bearing the 
inscription U. S. A, Mail ; this is the post office for 
the convenience of people passing up and down the 
xiver. We are the mail, but there are no letters for 
us to-day. 



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The Cypress Gate. 197 

Presently we pass a dilapidated log-hut ; its owner^ 
a long-limbed stalwart-looking negro, lounges in the 
doorway smoking his pipe. He comes down to the 
boat and receives a hamper of provisions and a bundle 
of tobacco. He gives us in exchange a bundle of the 
'* vanilla plant " — a weedy growth on the low-lying 
grounds of the Ocklawaha, and it is largely used to 
adulterate the cheap chewing tobacco. It is gathered 
in great quantities by the natives, who derive a 
very good revenue from the business. Soon there 
is a general stir, a buzz goes round, everybody crowds 
to the bow of the boat on the look out for the 
wonderful " Cypress Gate," through which we shall 
soon be passing. Two tall straight cypress trees 
loom upon our sight ; they stand one on each side of 
the river like lofty Grecian columns supporting a 
leafy dome above our heads, and framing the earth and 
sky beyond. So narrow is this natural gateway, that 
as our little boat glides through it is within an inch 
of the land on either side. 

At one o'clock precisely the dinner is served. The 
cosy little saloon is transformed into a commodious 
dining-room ; the small round tables are drawn out 
and covered with a snowy cloth and shining glass 
and silver, while a goodly array of appetising things 
are set thereon. There are fowls and cutlets, pure and 
simple, crisp salads, a variety of vegetables, and such 
a dessert ! Such delicious puddings and pies, tarts and 



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198 Down Soute. 

compotes, quite an embarras de richesses indeed I One 
wonders how so many gastronomic delights can be 
conjured out of our very limited surroundings. There 
are no wines to be obtained on board ; those who wish 
to indulge in those luxuries must supply themselves. 
Our comforts are well looked after ; at six o'clock the 
tables are again spread with cold meats, ham and 
eggs, and tea and coffee. 

As soon as possible we are out on the balcony again ; 
and for all the long day we glide through this tropical 
wonderland, some new fantastic beauty flashing upon 
us at every turn. Now the foliage is so dense that the 
gleams of sunlight lose themselves in the luxuriant 
mass, and try in vain to reach us ; looking upwards 
we see a narrow strip of sky, like a band of ribbon, 
intensely blue, lacing the tall tree tops together over- 
head. Then the shores widen out, and the marshy 
land is covered with broad-bladed grass ; the wild 
savannahs and forests are driven back, and a lofty 
pine stands solitary in a lonely place like an advance- 
guard thrown out from an army of green. Again we 
are plunged in a tangled wilderness where cypress, 
pine, and palm, swarm down upon us and again line 
the banks of the river, and multitudes of strange 
forms dazzle our eyes and bewilder our imagination. 
It is growing dusky, and wild weird shapes float out of 
the depths and fill our minds with strange fancies. 
The whole forest seems marching to some wild tune 



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Nightfall. 199 

which the wind is playing ; the long, vine-wreathed 
branches twine and sway and circle and swing in the 
twilight, like a troop of dancing girls, new born from 
their silent depths, their white arms flashing and 
curving, while the soft silver moss falls like a veil, 
hiding their laughing faces. They come out from the 
gloom like a phantasmagoria of living beauty down 
to the water's edge ; then they fade, mingle with earth, 
air, and sky, and we are in the wilderness again. 

The night is closing in ; there is no moon, but the 
small bright stars are trembling like heavenly fruit 
scattered over the dusky skies, and earth and river 
and forest blend together in one black mystery. There 
is nothing left of our most perfect day but its memory ; 
it has quite faded away — lost, swallowed up in the 
dark wilderness behind us. 

Some of our fellow passengers retire to the saloon 
as soon as the daylight fades, and stand with their 
noses flattened against the saloon window to see what 
follows. A scanty few of us, wrapped in shawls and 
cloaks (for it has grown chilly, even cold), gather 
upon the balcony, and watch for the illumination 
that is to come; and now a general exchange of 
civilities begins. One brings out a supply of quinine 
and administers small doses all round; another 
luxuriates in a constant shower of toilet vinegar ; 
one walks up and down like a polar bear, diving now 
and then into the depths of his coat pockets, and 



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200 Down South. 

produces lozenges, or sticky somethings that are a 
" sure antidote for malaria" — for we are in the very 
heart of its dominions, there is no doubt about that. 
The sunlight keeps the foul fiend down, hidden away 
beneath the rich, rank luxuriance that delights the 
eye with its tangled brilliance ; but so soon as the 
sun goes down it rises, an invisible ghost, and 
jningles subtly with the air we breathe, and gittacks 
us from our weakest points. Therefore we arm 
ourselves against it, and drench ourselves with anti- 
dotes, inside and out. One gentleman, whose sole 
object in life seems to be the nursing of his own 
infirmities, appears like a wild Indian clothed in 
his cabin blankets, with his nose buried in a huge 
bottle of camphorated spirits. I believe it is tied 
on like a horse-bag. 

Soon the huge pine knots are lighted on the top 
of the pilot house above our heads, and a brilliant 
flame flares out upon the night and, for a moment, 
every tree, every leaf, is clearly defined, like a bas- 
relief flung out from a world of darkness. The blaze 
flickers and flashes and fades, and, for a moment, we 
glide through leafy obscurity, which seems to have 
grown darker from the light that has departed. In 
silent majesty the grand old forest is gliding past us 
with muffled steps and hidden features — a shrouded 
army, marching through the silent night. Then, 
again, our pine fire lights up the skies, and illuminates 



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The Forest by Firelight. 201 

the surrounding scenery with flashes of red and 
green and blue and yellow ; then all commingling 
fade into one white glare ; frightened birds are scared 
from their secret nests, and flutter, with melancholy 
cries, for a second above our heads, and then are 
swallowed up in the darkness. Now the blue flame 
flashes up to the great tree tops, then darts downward 
like a fiery serpent, and up some narrow winding 
water lane, and, for a second, a thousand weird forms 
float before our eyes, and change and fade and melt 
into nothingness. The negroes passing to and fro 
upon the lower deck, their black faces and shining 
eyes illumined by the red glare, look like gnomes or 
demons labouring in their enchanted fires. 

Through these mysterious lights and shadows, ever 
changing, ever varying, now suggesting veiled ap- 
paritions from another world, now bathed in the 
glory of this, we pass till long after midnight, when 
we are out of the labyrinth of the Ocklawaha, and 
back in the broad stream of the St. John's river. 
Several of us are sitting up on deck with our baggage, 
ready to be transferred to the St. John's river boat, 
which we expect every moment to meet. Presently, 
out of the dense black, a silver glare of light looms 
slowly on our sight. It is the electric lamp of the 
expected steamer. Nearer and nearer looms the dim 
giant hulk of the big vessel. We signal three 
shrill shrieks, ''Will you stop and take passengers 



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202 Down South. 

aboard ? " They signal back three demoniacal yells, 
*'Yes." 

She comes alongside and stops. We speedily 
transfer ourselves jfrom the " Okeehumkee " to one of 
the splendid " De Bary " line of steamers which ply 
up and down the St. John's jiver. Many people 
make their arrangements so as to sleep at Palatka, 
and take the St. John's river boat from that, its 
starting place early in the morning; but to us it 
was a great saving of time to meet it on its way. 
There are two ways of enjoying the Ocklawaha river 
excursion : one is to take the boat at Palatka, which 
starts at eight o'clock in the morning, and reaches 
Silver Springs about seven o'clock on the next. It 
remains there about two hours, in order that its 
passengers may, if they please, take a row boat — 
there are plenty there for hire — and row about the 
spring, making a closer inspection of its wonders 
than they could possibly do from the deck of the 
steamer. It starts again on its return journey about 
nine o'clock, and reaches Palatka in the small hours 
of the following morning ; but the sleeping passengers 
are not disturbed, except by their own desire, till 
the usual hour of rising. The return down the river, 
as the tide is with them, takes some hours less time 
than the upward journey. Some people prefer 
spending the two days and nights on the boat, as, 
by this means, they have a daylight view of every 



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A Change of Steamers. 203 

feature of the river. The other way is to follow 
our example : sleep at Ocala, and take the return 
journey only. Oeala has every possibility of deve- 
loping into an important place ; as yet it is new, 
but it is improving day by day. A large hotel is 
building close to the railway station, which promises 
well for future tourists. 

As we exchange parting civilities with our travel- 
ling companions on leaving the Ocklawaha boat, 
they lean over the rails, waving their handkerchiefs, 
and wishing us "Good night," and ^^Bon voyage.*' 
They puff on their way, illuminating the widening 
waters as they go. We watch the dear little 
*' Okeehumkee " puff itself out of sight ; then enter 
the large luxurious saloon, which is empty now and 
dimly lighted. Everybody has retired to rest, not 
a sound is stirring any where, and the thick 
carpet smothers our footsteps as we follow our 
dusky guide to our cabins, which are really charm- 
ing little rooms with large, comfortable beds. Worn 
out with the excitements of our long, delightful 
day, we are soon wrapped in a dreamless sleep. 



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CHAPTER XV. 

Picturesque scenery on St. John's river. — ** Sickening for the 
fever, ma'am ? " — ^The inland lakes. — A pair of elderly turtle 
doves. — Sport on the Indian river. 

In the morning we wake early, and find ourselves 
on the vast expanse of the St. John's river, which 
curves and circles round and about the level land, 
stretching away before and behind us till it sheathes 
itself like a silver lance in the horizon. It is a 
glorious day, with the bluest of blue skies, and the 
sun pouring down a flood of silver light. No other 
craft is in sight, we have the river all to ourselves ; 
but a score or two of beautiful, long-billed, white 
herons rise up from the marshy land, and majestically 
wheel in slow graceful curves in the air above our 
heads, and then take their flight southward. 

We have not long enjoyed our stroll upon the 
empty deck when the beU rings and we are sum- 
moned to breakfast ; there are scarcely a dozen 
passengers aboard this boat, where there is comfort- 
able accommodation for several hundreds, but our 
numbers increase as the day goes on. 



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The St. John's River. 205 

A capital breakfast is prepared for us — broiled 
chickens, mushrooms, and fresh fish just taken from 
the river ; these boats pride themselves on the good 
living they, afibrd their passengers. Our captain, a 
big, burly man, sits at the head of the table and 
motions for . us to take our seats beside him. He 
glances at us from under his brows, and bestows on 
us a beaming smile and brief " Good morning ; " then 
applies himself vigorously to the knife and fork busi- 
ness, and eats and smiles persistently throughout the 
meal. But he does not talk ; conversation evidently 
is not his strong point, but navigation is. He once 
opens his mouth professionally. A much bewhiskered 
young fellow, who speaks without thinking, ventures 
to suggest that on this smooth river the vessel might 
be commanded bya *' sleeping partner." The captain 
wheels round and answers sternly, 

" Sir, I have passed my life on the St. John's river, 
and I assure you the navigation of the high seas is 
child's play compared to the navigation of the St. 
John's river." Silence follows this stern rebuke. 

It is evident that sociability will form no part of 
our days diversion. Although humankind is so 
sparsely represented, we carry a few score of pigs 
below, and they keep up a grunting chorus among 
themselves. Among the passengers grouped round 
the breakfast table is one fierce-looking individual 
with ginger-coloured hair, and fat, clean-shaven face, 



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206 Down South. 

who evidently likes to hear himself talk ; he invades 
the general silence, and speaks like an oracle, flings 
down his opinion as though it were a challenging 
gauntlet, and defies any one to take it up. We have 
most of us some friend with similar characteristics, 
with whom conversation is simply impossible, though 
they are always armed and ready for a game of con- 
tradiction. Advance an argument, or venture on a 
ripple of pleasant small talk, as modestly as you 
i^^y> your arguments are knocked down one after 
the other, like ninepins, as fast as you set them up, 
and your rippling talk is swamped in a wave of fine 
phrases. I ventured on three observations, mere 
commonplaces, which were politely waived aside. I 
was a woman and a stranger, and so escaped flat 
contradiction. As one after the other we drifted 
from the table somebody said, in a grumbling 
undertone, 

" That fellow ought tp be flung overboard ; he's 
no fit company for travelling Christians." 

" Before the day's over he'll get a lick the rough 
side of my tongue, you bet," said somebody else. 

I am happy to say that performance was not 
carried out, as the obnoxious person, in company 
with a score of fat hogs, got ofi" at the first landing- 
stage, and a woman with a large family of small 
childreli came on. These kept things lively the whole 
day long. She lived in the constant fear that one or 



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Through Peaceful Scenes. 207 

other of her progeny would fall overboard ; they did 
not have a 'moment's peace of their lives; she was 
always at their heels, diving after them, fishing 
them out of odd nooks and corners whither childish 
curiosity led them. We settled ourselves down in 
the bow of the boat to take general observations of 
the scenery we were passing through. 

The St. John's is a magnificent river, winding, 
widening, and wandering, now through low-lying 
marshy lands, now through fine forests of live oaks, 
festooned with Spanish moss, or decorated with 
graceful vines, twisting and curling fantastically 
round them, alternated with tangles of cypress, 
sweet gums, and stately palm ; through wild savan- 
nahs, and groves of shining orange-trees, and here 
and there past pretty villages and beautiful homes 
with blooming gardens reaching down and drooping 
their rich blossoms over the water. From each of 
these there generally runs out a tiny pier — for 
everybody likes to have a landing stage in his own 
possession — with a fleet of small boats, with gay 
flags and striped awning, anchored thereto. But 
these are rare features in the passing landscape ; it 
is only now and then, at rare intervals, we are 
refreshed with these sweet home views. 

The scenery on either side of the river is pictur- 
esque, and rarely romantic throughout ; and yet in 
no single feature does it bear any resemblance to 



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208 Down South. 

the weird wildness of the Ocklawaha. In many- 
places it is six miles wide, and is seldom less than 
one ; the current is slow, and it moves with feeble 
pulsations on its course ; it is never flustered or 
stirred to headlong rashness, it creeps quietly, with a 
grand placidity, round anything that lies in its way, 
never dashes or tumbles over it ; no wind can lash 
it into fury, no storms disturb its sweet tranquillity ; 
it is more like a long chain of lakes and lagoons, 
fed from a thousand springs, than a restless river. 
Perhaps it owes some of its placidity to the fact that 
it flows the wrong way, and by no human agency can 
it ever be set right. Unlike the rest of the American 
rivers, it flows due north ; the why and the wherefore 
is one of Nature's mysteries. It is always spacious 
and majestic : here a tiny island with a crown of green 
foliage studs its surface ; there tall reeds and rushes 
and wide-leaved grasses sway in the slow-flowing 
current, as though they have wandered from the land, 
and are trying to save themselves from drowning. 
Not unfrequently the river rises out of its natural 
bed and overflows the low-lying banks on either side 
till the land seems covered with tiny lakelets. All 
sorts of queer birds, long necked, long legged, long 
billed, some with snowy plumage, some grey, some 
with red bills and golden green wings, flamingoes and 
curlews fly overhead, and solemn-looking storks stand 
meditating on the watery shore. If we approach too 



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Birds and Beasts. 209 

near some of the conglomeration of odd-looking birds 
throw out their long necks, elongate their unwieldy- 
looking bodies, rise gracefully and wheel in slow gyra- 
tions over our head till they are lost in the distance. 

So far as the eye can reach there are rolling lands 
covered everywhere with a dense growth of vegeta- 
tion, large tracks covered with marshy grasses, and 
maiden cane, which is a spurious kind of sugar cane, 
grows to the height of twelve or fifteen feet, and 
resembles a waving field of ripening corn. Here and 
there are clumps of dwarf palmettoes, tall pines, 
dog-wood, and sweet gums, stretching away till they 
are lost in the distant horizon. Looking back we see 
the zig-zag of the stream curling and curving in 
watery hieroglyphics behind us. The whole journey 
through this long river of many hundred miles is 
most picturesque and interesting — a constant pano- 
rama of tropical scenery and strange animal life. 
The alligators we see on the shores of this river 
are much larger than those on the Ocklawaha ; 
they are more shy, too, and don't let us get 
near them. We have no chance of studying their 
physiognomies here, for, as we approach, we see a 
black mass like an animated tree trunk skurrying and 
splashing head-foremost into the water. In watching 
the animate and inanimate life along these shores it 
is impossible to find a moment's monotony anywhere. 

The skies are intensely blue, the sunshine glorious ; 

p 



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210 Down South. 

a golden haze, bom of the sun's intensity and the 
green earth's responsive gladness, faUs like a shining 
veil everywhere. Surrounded by such scenes at such 
a season, one is apt to fall into a contemplative mood. 
I was roused from a state of this drowsy kind of day 
dreaming by having a bottle of some medicated salts 
thrust under my nose, and a voice at my elbow 
inquiring with tender solicitude : 

" You're looking pale ; sickening for the fever, 
ma'am ? " 

I devoutly hoped not. 

" Just recovering from it, then ? " added my 
interlocutor. 

This I could emphatically deny. I inquired, with a 
touch of irritation, did a visit to Florida necessitate 
an attack of malarial fever ; and was answered — 

" Well, ma'am, most people du hev it ef they stay 
long enough." 

We were growing accustomed to this inquiry, 
*' Have you had the fever ? " Everybody asked it ; at 
the same time everybody informed us there was no 
malaria there in their own immediate surroundings, 
it existed in the place we had left, and in the place 
we were going to ; it was never present with us ; it 
had been yesterday, or would be to-morrow, but it 
was never to-day. It reminded us of the jam in 
Through the Looking-glass : " Jam yesterday, and 
jam to-morrow, but never, never any jam to-day." 



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Deceptive Sweets. 211 

People who ought to know have stated that 
malaria is unknown^ at any season in any part of 
Florida, and have written volumes in support of this 
assertion. Perhaps it may be called by another name ; 
certainly no one can travel through the low-lying 
districts of the St. John's Eiver, or, indeed, through 
any portion of semi-tropical Florida, without realising 
the fact that, amid all the rich luxuriance, the 
brilliant sunshine, and soft sweet airs, the fever fiend 
lies concealed, like the serpent hidden beneath the 
joys of paradise, biding j[ts time, waiting till the 
hot summer days are swooning among the flowers. 

Of course there are some places which at all seasons 
are more free from malarial disturbances than others. 
Fernandina may especially be mentioned, and St. 
Augustine. Jacksonville, and the regions of the 
Tallahassee country, though certainly liable to inva- 
sion, yet usually present a clean bill of health all the 
year round. But we will indulge in a retrospective 
view of Florida hereafter ; at present we are on the 
St. John's Eiver, enjoying the most perfect dolcefar 
nientey with no thought beyond the hour, and don't 
care to be interrupted even for the very necessary 
operation of eating. The sound of the dinner bell is 
a disturbing element, but we must perforce obey its 
summons ; though the mind can be fed on fair sun- 
shine and fine scenery, the body requires more 
substantial support. On board this boat, and I 

P 2 



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212 Down South. 

believe on all that line of river steamers, there is 
uncommonly good feeding ; the meals are excellently 
weU and abundantly served. We "get through" 
as quickly as possible, and station ourselves again 
on deck. 

We stop at all the landing stages to take in freight ; 
sometimes it is man, sometimes it is mutton, the 
fruits of the earth, or the fruits of human kind. 
From some unexplained reason we make quite a long 
stop at " Saratoga," a pretty little settlement lying 
along the east shore of the river. It is a striking 
contrast to that fashionable Saratoga, far away in 
the eastern province, with its gigantic hotels, its 
luxuries, its trim promenades, its music, its whirl of 
gaiety, and rush and roar of animated life — a seething 
cauldron of perfumed humanity, highly decorated 
and ready for daily sacrifice on the altar of fashion. 
There it is art, or nature clipped and twisted and 
trained, so far froni its original simplicity, that you can- 
not recognise a single feature — in fact, Nature in mas- 
querade ; in brilliant, gorgeous masquerade, it is true, 
but hiding the nal^d loveliness of Nature's self. Who 
could recognise the chaste beauty of a " Venus di 
Medici " beneath Worth's latest costume, with decora- 
tions of TiflFany's brightest jewels ? Here is Nature's 
purest self in her own Arcadian simplicity, clothed 
with golden orange groves and blooming gardens, 
aglow with brilliant-hued flowers running all along 



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By the Way. 213 

the river side, nodding at their own shadows in 
the stream. No belles nor beaux stroll through 
these lovely solitudes ; not a petticoat is in sight ; 
only a few coloured folk are working in the gardens, 
as our father Adam worked in* our lost inheritance, 
''the Garden of Eden." The bees are gathering 
honey, and the invisible insect world seems all astir, 
filling the air with a dreamy drowsy hum, just stirring 
the waves of silence to a soft, low-uttered harmony. 
Some few of our fellow passengers go ashore and 
ramble among the groves for half an hour, when they 
return loaded with the luscious fruit, which they seem 
to enjoy all the more having been allowed to gather 
all they desired for themselves. 

We steam on for a few miles, when we come to 
Welaka, one of the healthiest localities of the state. 
It stands on a high bluflF, fringed with a magnificent 
growth of live oaks, clothed in their own beautiful 
robes of green, undecorated by the grey Spanish 
moss, which, while adding to the graceful appearance 
of the trees, tells plainly that the malarial fiend is 
lurking somewhere near. In this locality is grown 
some of the finest oranges in the state, as the soil is 
rich and dry, and all the conditions are favourable to 
their successful cultivation. Directly opposite the 
landing stage is the mouth of the wonderful 
Ocklawaha, whose weird depths we have so lately 
penetrated. Three miles farther on we reach Norwalk, 



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214 Down South. 

a primitive landing place, where there seems nothing 
to land for, and nowhere to go to when you have 
landed. But the settlement, it seems, is laid more 
than a mile back from the river, and is rather an 
important little town, the neighbourhood producing a 
large amount of garden vegetables and fruits. Very- 
few orange growers settle in that location ; very few 
tourists visit it ; it is a simple city of homes ; it has 
the regulation number of schools (indeed the simplest 
hamlet is well off on that score, the means for educa- 
tion are freely scattered throughout the length and 
breadth of the land ; the poorest tillers of the land 
or toilers of the sea have no excuse for ignorance), 
churches, banks, etc., and a thriving population of 
busy workers. It is at this point the lower St. John's 
river ends, and we pass into a narrow crooked channel, 
varying from forty to several hundred feet wide. 
Here the water loses its clear opaline blue, and reflects 
the clouds in dark murky shadows. This dingy 
colour of the water, they say, is owing to the rich, 
rank vegetation of this tropical region of the St. 
John's river. Everywhere the shores are covered 
with dense forests of oak, cypress, willow, etc., inter- 
laced with gigantic vines, some barren, some bearing 
a rich fruitage of sweet wild grapes. The grey Spanish 
moss hangs from the green branches, and reeds, 
rushes, and all kinds of long tropical grasses form an 
impenetrable jungle down to the water's edge — nay, 



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Woods and Clearings. 215 

encroach upon the water's self and sway gently on its 
surface ; and flowers of immense size and brilliant 
colours are abundant everywhere ; they spread over 
the surface of the water, and flourish on the vines, on 
the trees, on everything or on nothing, for we catch 
an occasional glimpse of the mysterious golden-hued 
air plant among the luxuriant green foliage. Here, 
too, the alligators and other hideous river reptiles 
abound, but you must have sharp eyes to get a 
glimpse of them, for as the steamer approaches they 
hurry back, and dive under the water, or hide upon 
the land. This dense jungle scenery is apt to give 
one an idea that we are going through some of 
Nature's primeval solitudes, her secret haunts, im- 
penetrable and uninhabitable for the human race. But 
that is a wrong idea; this is the low-lying valley 
region ; the ground slopes upwards from the water's 
edge, and within a mile or two — nay, sometimes much 
nearer, only a few hundred yards away from the 
waterside — are wide clearings where some adventurous 
pioneer has squatted and made his home, and cul- 
tivates the land, his own not by right of purchase, 
but possession. Only a few hundred yards from the 
malarial region you may breathe pure, healthful air. 

We soon emerge from these luxuriant picturesque 
regions, and are on the wide river again. Earely 
has one river so many phases as this world-famous 
St. John's ; the scenery is always changing — a series 



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216 Down South. 

of panoramic views, land and water, combining to 
make one whole of picturesque loveliness. We stop 
at two or three more unimportant landing-places, 
pass some neat, solitary homes and thriving orange 
groves, and then reach Georgetown, the entrance 
to Lake St. George. Here a party of gentlemen 
with dogs and guns come on board. They are going 
on a sporting expedition up the Indian river into 
wilder regions than we dare to penetrate ; for although 
the Indian river region is well known and thoroughly 
appreciated, it is visited by very few tourists or 
strangers, it being difficult of access, necessitating 
several days' water travelling, and the accommodation 
for travellers being of the roughest description, and 
even then only to be obtained at rare intervals. 
To make amends, however, for the scarcity of places 
of public entertainment, the inhabitants are most 
hospitable, and a guest chamber is generally reserved 
in even the humblest farmhouse, where the stranger 
is always made welcome to the best the house 
affords. This kind of primitive casual entertainment 
is often far preferable to the gilded glories of the 
stereotyped hotel. These Indian river regions are 
more sparsely populated than those of St. John's; 
this too is owing to its general inaccessibility, for 
nowhere in all the state is there a richer or more 
fertile soil calculated for the growth of cereals of 
all kinds, fruits, vegetables, and sugar-cane attaining 



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"Here*s Sport, Indeed I'' 217 

sometimes to sixteen feet high — a single stalk yielding 
more than a gallon of juice ; and cacao, date, cocoa- 
nut, ginger, cassava, and yams may be cultivated 
with equal profit. The river aflfords rare sport for 
the fishermen, for it abounds with a great variety 
of fish, and is remarkable for its superb mullet, 
weighing from three to nine pounds, and measuring 
from fifteen to twenty inches in length. Turtling is 
also largely carried on, and is a most lucrative business. 
The splendid hammock lands all along the Indian 
river have a magnificent growth of hickory, mul- 
berry, red elm, iron wood, and crab wood ; both 
the latter are finely grained, and capable of receiving 
a fine polish. The surrounding woods abound with 
small game and deer, and occasionally a small black 
bear shows himself, while wild cats and such-like 
creatures may be found without much diflBculty by 
those who seek them, and sometimes they make them- 
selves more free than welcome to those who do not. 
Not infrequently a panther appears upon the scene, 
and is seldom allowed to retire unmolested to his den. 
It is hardly necessary to state that the whole of 
this fertile Indian river region is far below the frost 
line — the general temperature all the year round 
being about 75"*, though it has been known on rare 
occasions to rise to 90** or fall to 55°. But we must 
draw our thoughts from the Indian river and 
continue on our way ; we are now upon Lake St. 



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218 Down South. 

George. Slowly we steam across this magnificent 
sheet of water, one of the loveliest and most 
interesting of all the lakes in Florida ; it is six 
miles wide by fourteen miles long. These lovely 
lakes, of all shapes and sizes, are scatterred through- 
out the central region of Florida ; they vary from 
smooth, pleasant- looking pools of about an acre, 
hidden away in the heart of the pine woods, to the 
spacious lakes of fifty miles. They all lie far away 
from the large rivers and the sea-shore, and have 
always pleasant if not especially attractive sur- 
roundings ; their shores are generally slightly rolling, 
and covered with palmetto or pine, or sometimes 
the grassy slopes are outlined by a thick tangle 
of jungle in the distance. Orange Lake County is 
one of the famous inland lake districts. In the 
neighbourhood of Interlaken and Oceola the lakes 
are most numerous; looking in any direction a 
dozen or more pretty lakelets may be seen, and 
from one special spot in Maitland no less than 
nine large lakes are visible. Farther South, still in 
the centre of the peninsula, and surrounded by fine 
hammock lands (which always indicate the richest 
soil), are several other beautiful lakes — Conway, 
Cypress, Kissimmee, and Tohopekalaga and many 
more, large and small. The country is prairie-like, and 
the vegetation throughout this extensive region purely 
tropical, though as yet it is very sparsely populated. 



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The Lake Regions. 219 

Civilisation has not had time to develop the means 
of transport, and the lands are lying waste, only- 
waiting till the spirit of cultivation sweeps that way. 

In this brief allusion to the lake regions, which 
constitute so special a feature in the peninsula of 
Florida, I have made no mention of the numerous 
springs of sparkling waters which dot the whole 
surface of the land ; in some cases they are like 
little lakelets, in some cases they are springs of 
pure water, in others the water is medicated. 

Most of the lake shores in Orange County are 
dotted with pretty homes embowered in green trees, 
their smooth lawns and flower gardens running down 
to the water's edge. Lake Okechobee covers an 
area of nearly seven hundred square miles, and 
is the largest in the state ; it is at the very farthest 
point South, and penetrates into the region of the 
Everglades. 

Here, on Lake St. George, wild ducks and all 
kinds of water fowl seem as numerous as butterflies 
on a warm summer's day. Some of our fellow 
travellers amuse themselves by shooting the wild 
ducks, and a hybrid young darkie, who seems as 
much at home in the water as out of it, dives down 
head foremost, and fishes them out, and seems to 
enjoy the fun of it. 

There was one couple on board who attracted 
general attention by their frank and unreserved 



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220 Down South. 

appreciation of each others' charms. They were not 
young, they were not beautiful ; they were a kind of 
attenuated edition of the renowned Mr. Pickwick 
and Mrs. Wardle. He wore glasses, and the tender 
passion filtered through a pair of green spectacles 
loses somewhat of its romance. They were evidently 
veterans in the art of amorous warfare ; he sat with 
his arm round her waist, and carried on his wooing 
through the medium of a bottle of champagne ; they 
drank out of one glass, and worked slowly to the 
bottom of it, and then called for more. Some kinds 
of clay will bear a great deal of soaking. 

While we are still steaming along this beautiful 
river, past widening valleys, through thickets of dense 
shrubberies interlaced with gigantic vines, night 
closes in and shuts the wild picturesque scenery from 
our view. All wise people retire to the saloon, where 
somebody makes a feeble attempt to get up a concert ; 
but as there are no singers and no audience to speak 
of the idea is abandoned and everybody goes to bed. 

To make an entire exploration of the St. John's 
river involves about eight hundred miles of travel, 
which, however, is never wearisome, as the scenery 
shifts and changes at every turn, and the boat is a 
most comfortable floating home ; any one who is not 
well satisfied with the arrangement and accommoda- 
tion must be very hard to please. As we are near- 
ing our journey's end we meet another party of 



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A Cargo of Dainties. 221 

sportsmen returning from an excursion up the Indian 
river. On board their boat they have about one 
hundred gigantic turtles, the weight of each one 
being legibly marked on its back ; they were convey- 
ing them to Jacksonville, to be shipped thence to 
the northern markets. 

We had intended to leave the boat at Enterprise 
and spend a few days there rambling about the 
country and familiarising ourselves with the scenery 
of the surrounding neighbourhood. However, we 
were doomed to disappointment, for on arriving there 
we find the place deserted, the hotel closed, and 
no prospect of entertainment until October, when 
it will reopen for the season. 

Our captain suggests that there are some fruit- 
growers or small farmers in the neighbourhood who 
would make us welcome and put us up comfortably 
for a few days ; but although we know that hospitality 
is boundless in these regions, we do not feel disposed 
to take advantage of it. Some of our fellow- 
passengers go ashore, intending to camp out and 
make their way across to the Indian river settle- 
ment. We spend a delightful three days and nights 
upon the river, and return to Jacksonville. It is 
late in the evening when we arrive ; we sleep once 
more at our delightful hotel, and take the early 
morning train for New Orleans, where we hope to 
arrive in about two days. 



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CHAPTER XVI. 

Ketrospective. — A critical conductor. — Montgomery. — Train 
wreckers at work. — ^Weird scenes in the moonlight. — Silent 
watchers. — "Wild Cat " train to New Orleans. 

In the light of the early morning we bid adieu 
to Florida, its fruits, its flowers, its sunshine and 
its people. We have found our own country-people 
largely represented in all parts of the state, and 
everywhere they are doing well, and look healthy, 
happy, bright and contented ; and on all sides 
we see evidence of their thrift, industry, and general 
prosperity. We inquire to whom . belongs some 
lovely extensive orange groves, or some picturesque 
luxurious dwelling, and we are told to " some English 
settlers," who perhaps began with a shanty in the 
wilderness, and have transformed it into an earthly 
paradise of peace and plenty. Then a thriving farm, 
with its abundant cattle, its com or cotton-fields, 
and peach or pine orchards stretching away tiU they 
are lost in the distance ; the farmer is a man from 
the *^old country" — in fact, wherever the Anglo- 



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"Tom Tiddler's Ground." 223 

Saxon spirit stirs, prosperity follows : " When he 
sets his hand to the plough he doeth it with all 
his might." There are very few Irish in Florida, 
in fact so few that when the familiar accent greets 
our ears it sounds strange to us in these latitudes, 
and we turn round to look at the speaker. Their 
scanty numbers is somewhat surprising, as nowhere 
could the tide of immigration set in with such 
promise of success ; indeed here is a veritable *' Tom 
Tiddler's ground," it needs but the shovel and pickaxe 
to turn over the soil, when all who will may " pick 
up the gold and silver." The foreign element is 
altogether rather conspicuous from its absence, for 
there is but a poor sprinkling of German settlers, 
and the Latin races are scarcely represented at all ; 
even the Spaniards who once were rulers in the 
land have left but here and there a solitary speci- 
men of their races, and they are not often to be 
found in the great army of workers. A little fruit, 
a little com — such as can be obtained by little labour 
— contents them ; they have no ambition, either for 
the advancement of themselves, or of their children 
who follow in their footsteps, and live as their 
parents lived ; if they can sit and smoke and dream 
under their own fig-tree their cup of happiness is full. 
English and Americans contribute the greater portion 
of the population ; the stream of immigration has set 
in from every state in the Union, but New England 



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224 Down South. 

appears to be the state most largely represented ; 
nearly all the railroads, steamboats, factories, &c., 
are the outcome of New England and New York 
enterprise, brains, and capital. 

Coloured labour is generally used, both in the 
house and in the fields, gardens, and groves, but it 
is uncertain and unsatisfactory in its results ; and 
the immigration of a few thousand of the quiet, 
industrious, reliable Chinese would be cordially wel- 
comed throughout the State of Florida. They may 
have their drawbacks and be undesirable as citizens, 
but as mechanical or field labourers or house servants 
they are unsurpassed, being quiet, civil, obedient and 
obliging ; set against these good qualities their pro- 
pensity for petty pilfering and lying ; but these vices 
once acknowledged, you can prepare for or guard 
against them ; their industry and faithful labour may 
always be relied on. Many other nations have their 
vices without their redeeming qualities. There is very 
little crime, comparatively, in Florida; assaults or 
robberies are of infrequent occurrence. This is 
perhaps to be wondered at, as the houses are so few 
and far between, and every facility exists for the 
operations of tramps or burglars, but tramps and 
burglars are almost unknown ; if any of that genus 
ventures to interfere with the honest working popu- 
lation a rough-and-ready kind of popular justice 
speedily overtakes the evil-doer. 



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''Where Adam Delves and Eve Spins." 225 

The diflFerence between the people here in the 
extreme South and those in the extreme West is 
very remarkable. Here the stream of life flows on 
in peaceful untroubled calm, it moves with a decorous 
quiet, is never in a hurry ; they till the soil, and 
sow, and reap, prune, and plant in a leisurely fashion. 
They have made their homes and settled down there 
and mean to stay. There is no vexatious hurrying 
to and fro, no sudden influx of strangers from all 
lands, pouring in and overspreading the country, 
bringing with them a whirl of evil passions, with 
murder in their train, each elbowing the other, 
trampling down all rule and order in their eager 
thirst for gold ! Here there is no excitement, no 
mines to develop, no visions of sudden fortunes to 
be grasped in a lucky hour, no rush of eager anxious 
men in flannel shirts, top-boots, sombreros, armed 
with knives and revolvers; such as we often see even 
in the cities of the west ; there is no gambling with 
fate, no endeavour to cheat fortune's blind old eyes. 
Here the dignity of labour, as " when Adam delved 
and Eve span," asserts itself supreme. Men know 
that to conscientious labour will come success, with 
prosperity and ease in the near distance. Well, 
we say farewell to this land of promise with regret, 
and once more we establish ourselves on our pleasant 
Pullman car, and are en route for New Orleans. 

One of our casual acquaintances accompanies us to 

Q 



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226 Down South. 

the station, loads us with heaps of good wishes and a 
basket of beautiful flowers ; we exchange a pleasant 
farewell, and the train moves slowly off. We take our 
last look at the majestic river, whereon we have 
passed so many delightful hours ; it is clothed with a 
silver sheen, and ripples and sparkles and flashes in 
the royal light of the sun. The little Palatka 
steamer, with a single white sail fluttering from its 
masthead, puffs fussily on its way, bearing a fresh 
freight of happy tourists on their way to the wonder- 
ful Ocklawaha — as it bore us only a few days ago ; 
for a moment it seems to be racing with us, then we 
pass out of sight. We take a last look at the pretty 
embowered city of Jacksonville, and then proceed 
to decorate our section witli flowers, have a table set 
up, get out our books and a little idle needlework, 
and settle ourselves comfortably in our travelling 
home. 

The car is almost empty, and the few companions 
we have are of the masculine order ; the touristical 
element is absent. Our companions, judging from 
their conversation, are all Texan farmers who have 
been on a trip through Florida, combining business 
with pleasure, investigating the land generally, 
seeing how they could improve their own possessions ; 
and gathering up hints and facts and scraps for 
future use. One talked of giving up his cattle 
ranch in Texas, and migrating to Florida altogether. 



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Sociable Agriculturists. 227 

" Steers and heifers, and such-like are well enough 
raisinV he said, '' but them cattle lifters are always 
about, and keep us a little too lively all the time. 
When we go to bed at night we are never sure we 
sha'n't find our cattle driven oflF in the morning, and 
then — well, there's generally a little shootin' before we 
can get 'em back. I've seen so much of that sort of 
thing that now I'm getting an old man I'm tired of 
it. It seems all so quiet and peaceful down Florida, 
no lifters nor raiders thereabouts. I think," he added, 
after a pause, " I shall turn my cattle into orange 
groves." 

The conversation generally turned upon agricul- 
tural matters, in which, of course, they were all 
deeply interested — in fact, so interested, that they 
interested us. We could not help observing how 
much better educated they seem to be than the same 
class at home. Two lively young fellows entered 
into a brisk discussion as to the relative superiority 
of their different States. One, a tall, knky, loose- 
jointed specimen, was a landowner in " Alabama " — or 
'' Alabawmer," as he called it, with a by no means 
unpleasant drawl ; the other was a restless, eager- 
eyed young Texan, as full of quips and cranks as a 
young monkey. He seemed to regard life generally as 
a good joke, and t;urned everything into a laugh ; 
sometimes the laugh was against himself, but he was 
shrewd and sensible enough, though he had a queer, 

Q 2 



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228 Down South. 

quaint way of handling his subject. It was a 
pleasant journey on the whole ; their rough-and-ready 
talk was amusing, and gave us a new view of life 
in the wilds. Their account of the various methods 
of cultivating lands in the different States was most 
interesting, and we wish we could drop these grains 
of useful knowledge among those who could benefit 
by it. The seeds we sow and the harvests we gather 
have little to do with the agricultural interests. 

Our conductor, as usual, when he has leisure from 
his official duties, lounges across to our section and 
enters into a pleasant conversation with us. He 
discusses the social, political, and literary questions of 
the day with sound good sense and much discrimina- 
tion. He opens his stores of knowledge freely, and 
shows us through every department of his mind ; as 
one door shuts he opens another, takes a header, and 
plunges from one subject to another without any 
preliminary leading up thereto ; he seems determined 
to make th^ best use of his time, and show us how 
much worldly and intellectual gossip can be gathered 
in the wilds of Alabama. He reminds us of the 
clever tradesman who conducts you through the 
warehouse where all his best goods are on exhibition. 
He embellished his conversation with poetical quota- 
tions from Tennyson and Shakespeare, and occasionally 
fished up from the depths of his miemory a mysterious 
passage of Browning and tried to make sense of it. 



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A Critical Conductor. 229 

He endeavoured, but failed, to extract the poet's 
meaning from the conglomerated mass of fine phrases 
and high-sounding words with which he had scrupu- 
lously clothed and concealed it, as though he never 
intended anybody ever should find it out ; and, 
indeed, if he entered on the quest, might have some 
difficulty in finding it out himself. Our conductor 
appears to be a devotee of the drama, too, and is not 
disposed to hide his light under a bushel. He waxed 
critical on the subject of Modjeska's Juliet and 
Bernhardt's Camille ; he had seen both once when 
he had been travelling East. The time passed so 
pleasantly that we were sorry when his duties called 
him away, but they did not very often. Our agri- 
cultural companions evidently thought our conversa- 
tion frivolous and foolish, and occasionally snorted 
a disapproving snarl about play-acting. 

As there are no dining cars attached to this train, 
meals are served at stated places. At Waycross 
we get an excellent supper — a thoroughly enjoyable 
and satisfactory meal. Some of our fellow-travellers, 
having been deluded into the belief that nothing 
eatable was to be had on the road, abstracted from 
the bowels of their baskets stale sandwiches, 
crumpled buns, and mashed fruits, a delightful 
provision against starvation, which had got con- 
siderably mixed during the journey. 

We reach Montgomery about eight o'clock in the 



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230 Down South. 

evening, and there we have to wait two hours for 
the New Orleans train. It is not often we have 
these long dreary waits by the wayside ; as a rule 
the correspondence between the trains is arranged so 
as to avoid this inconvenience. However, we have 
to wait now, and had best bear the annoyance 
patiently. We take a walk through the dimly- 
lighted town, indulge in a little characteristic gossip 
with the natives, and the time soon passes ; it is 
useless to fret and fume over the unavoidable — 
travelling has taught us that much. On our return 
to the " waiting-room " (so called by courtesy, for it 
is a mere shed with a few wooden benches), our 
attention is attracted by a young woman who is 
seated in a dusky corner; she has a fractious child 
about a year old in her arms, and in a tired voice 
is telling somebody of the long weary journey she 
has had, and — 

"Now," she continues, with a low sob in her 
voice, "I have to go on a common car all the way 
to New Orleans. I cannot get a sleeping berth ; I 
have just been to the office, and they say they 
are all taken." 

I doubt this, as I have just had a choice of two ; 
I volunteer to go and see what I can do in the 
matter, and succeed in securing for her the last berth. 
As soon as we enter the car I see that the woman is 
coloured; perhaps this is the reason of her failure. 



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Train Wreckers at Work. 231 

One or two of our fellow passengers look on her 
askant, as coloured people are not generally taken 
on the Pullman cars, but no one was inhuman enough 
to take exception to her presence. 

There is a stir, a momentary confusion in finding 
and settling ourselves in our different sections ; if 
we would only be guided by the calm ofl&cial mind, 
we should be guided thereto in less time and with 
less trouble. We are both tired and sleepy, and 
in an incredibly short time are in our closely- 
curtained berths fast asleep, wandering through 
the land of nod. 

Suddenly we are violently shaken out of our sleep. 
Jerk ! crash ! and we stand still. Doors open and 
shut, men pass hastily to and fro, the gentlemen 
tumble out of their berths ; soon everybody is astir, 
and mysterious whispers and wonderings pass from 
one to another. " We're off the line," says one ; " The 
train s wrecked;" "Anybody hurt?" "It's brigands," etc. 
We are in the last car, fortunately for us, and we 
step out on to the platform to ascertain for ourselves 
what is really the matter. A polite unknown voice 
issues from the darkness — 

" Would you like to see the wreck ? " it inquires. 
Yes, we would like it very much ; and two chivalrous 
but invisible escorts receive us as we alight in a mud 
bank (where we nearly leave our shoes), and half lead 
and half support us as we stumble along the track. 



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232 . Down South. 

There lies the engine — a wreck among its expiring fires 
— the tender smashed beside it ; the two foremost cars 
are off the line, toppling sideways but not absolutely- 
turned over. Our car, the last, was the only one that 
kept the rails — this accounts for the mere shaking the 
accident caused us. The occupants of the forward cars 
were very much shaken ; the baggage master had his 
shoulder dislocated, but no one was seriously hurt. 
We were all indebted for our providential escape to 
the presence of mind of our engine driver, who, on 
feeling his engine jerk off the line, reversed it, whistled 
" down brakes," and having done all that could be 
done for saving us, jumped from the engine and 
saved himself. On farther inquiry we learn that our 
accident is believed to be no accident at all, but the 
work of "train wreckers," who have removed the 
rails, and are no doubt lurking in the surrounding 
wilds, biding their time to swoop down and rob the 
train — a little game they are rather fond of playing 
in this part of the country. We are prepared for 
them, however. The gentlemen, who are all well 
armed, turn out of the train, every one of them, join 
the ofl&cials, and watch with them through the night. 
Meanwhile we are locked into the cars, assured of 
safety, and solemnly adjured to retire to rest, as 
we shall have to be astir at four o'clock in the 
morning. 

A great fire of pine logs is kindled on the track. 



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A Midnight Vigil. 233 

and the dusky figures of our volunteer guard pass to 
and fro, now illuminated by the red glare of light, 
then vanishing like shadowy spectres into the darkness, 
and the white watery moon peering out from a ragged 
mass of leaden clouds, or hiding behind them, gives 
the whole scene a weird look, like a living illustration 
torn out from some dead romance. There is no talking, 
no sound, only the solitary figures of the watchers 
stalking to and fro in the mysterious gloom. In the 
soft grey dawn of the morning we are roused (though 
indeed few of us need rousing, we too have been silent 
watchers through the night). We make a hasty toilet, 
gather our belongiogs together, descend from the 
cars, and walk along the line to meet the New Orleans 
train which has been signalled to stop, and is already 
disgorging its living freight. The alighting passengers 
meet us face to face with scared inquiring looks, as 
wondering why they have been roused from their 
sleep so early. The sight of our dilapidated train 
explains the mystery, and our sleepy melancholy 
processions pass each other by ; they go east by the 
train which has been sent from Montgomery to meet 
them, and we enter the cars they have vacated. On 
viewing our wrecked train by the morning light we 
realise more completely the danger we have passed 
through. 

The transfer of baggage and passengers is soon 
made, and by the time the beautiful sun has opened 



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234 Down South. 

like a rich red rose in the east, we are once more 
on our way towards New Orleans. 

All the usual transit arrangements have been 
thrown out of gear by our accident, and we have 
to run on what is called " a wild cat train," that is 
to say, we have no time of our own, and have to get 
along as well as we can, without any legitimate claim 
to the " right of the road." We shriek and whistle, 
and wriggle along for a few minutes, and then are 
ignominiously shunted ; our engine gasps, and swallows 
its own smoke, and droops its iron wings in a most 
forlorn condition ; even the fireman hides his face, 
as the triumphant express dashes joyously by, as 
though rejoicing in our humiliating condition. Even 
the usually despised freight train passes us. We are 
something lower than an " immigrant train " — we are 
a "wild cat." We struggle on a little farther and 
then are signalled out of the way again ; we are 
always backing, pulling up short, and being shunted 
into unexpected sidings — never knowing what we are 
going to do from one moment to another, or where 
we shall get anything to eat, or whether we shall 
have to starve till we get to New Orleans. Some- 
times during this weary waiting w^e get out and 
promenade the track; it is rather rough walking, 
and we don't do too much of it. Or if we are brought 
to a standstill in the wilderness, we ramble for half- 
an-hour through the sweet wet woods, for the gentle 



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Our Journey on a "Wild Cat." 235 

rain has bathed the tall trees and brought out the 
perfume of the wild flowers, and clothed all the 
wooded wonders with a dainty freshness. Who cares 
to wander through the hot dry woods in the scorching 
summer time, when the thirsty trees droop their 
long branches as though trying to reach the running 
water, whose gentle gurgling they hear from afar off ; 
and the pale flowers, sick and sorely laden with their 
own perfumes, open their parched lips prayerfully 
and wait for the freshening rain ? Well, it has 
fallen to-day, and the wild woods are chirping 
with vigorous life — ^birds, and shrubs, and flowers, 
and all the insect world, fresh from their showery 
bath, are waking and whirring joyously in the soft 
sunshine ; then we come upon a clump of magnolia 
trees, whose long buds are slowly opening into flower, 
and somebody presents me with a magnolia as large 
as a young cabbage. 

About twelve o'clock we pull up at a desolate-looking 
village ; people come out of their cottages, pigs and 
children tumbling one over the other, to stare at this 
sudden irruption of humanity, at this hour when no 
respectable train is expected to be on the road. We 
alight, and are marshalled through numerous tumble- 
down cottages to a dilapidated hotel — a cross between 
an Irish shanty and a low class refreshment bar. Here 
we get a meal, or at least a substitute for one ; we are 
all too hungry to pay much attention to the quality 



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236 Down South. 

of the food, provided we get enougli of it. The 
landlady, in large hoop earrings and a draggled print 
gown, received us at the stair-head, and with apologies 
for the poor entertainment she is able to aflfbrd us, 
on the ground of the exceptional nature of the occasion ; 
it is the very first time a train has come to a stand- 
still in this primitive part of the country. 

There is a general clatter and chatter ; two or three 
small negroes flutter round like a flock of frightened 
geese ; everybody seems to get in everybody else's 
way — they tumble over each other, tumble over us. 
There is a general scrimmage and rush for such eatables 
as are here attainable ; one gets a cup of steaming 
coffee while the milk vanishes in the distance ; another 
is refreshed with a bowl of sugar; one gets proud 
possession of a yard of com bread, another grasps a 
dish of rancid butter — but the difficulty is getting 
the two together; fresh eggs are plentiful, and are 
piled like mountains of white cannon baUs upon the 
table. A trio of adventurous gentlemen make a raid 
upon the kitchen, and reappear" proudly bearing their 
spoils aloft ; by degrees things shake down and we 
manage to fill the vacuum within us. Our damaged 
baggage master, with his dislocated shoulder bound 
up by amateur hands, is cheerful, albeit in pain, 
and receives the attentions of the ladies with great 
placidity; he has to be fed like a big baby, for he 
can't use his right hand, and his left is sprained 



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The Lights of New Orleans. 237 

and swollen. Everybody is laughing, chatting, and 
grumbling all in a breath ; as for us we never 
enjoyed a thoroughly British growl at so small a 
price — twenty cents a head I 

On our way to the station we meet a wicked- looking 
little Topsy, with a huge brown jug of new milk, jutit 
fresh from the cow; we speedily relieve her of this 
responsibility, and in the twinkling of an eye change 
the stone jug and its contents into a shower of 
"nickels." 

Ee-entering the car we are again on our way, and 
enjoy a series of dissolving views of some of the most 
charming scenery of the South — through plantations 
of cotton trees, and red and white blossomed dogwood. 
Slowly the world of green disappears beneath the 
grey twilight shadows ; the sun, which has been 
blazing like a ball of burnished gold all day, seems 
suddenly to grow tired of shining, and drawshiscrimson 
curtains round him and sinks suddenly to rest. Soon 
the lights of New Orleans loom upon our sight. 

Omnibuses and cars of all description are in waiting 
at the station, and in a very short time we are driving 
through the up and down streets of this quaint old 
city to the Hotel St. Charles, where we take our 
rest. 



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CHAPTER XVII. 

New Orleans, "The Paris of the South." — French quarters. — 
Tropical street scene. — To Carrolton. — ^The Levies. — Classical 
architectnre. — A coloured funeral. — The dismal swamp. — 
Lake Ponchartrain. — A gambling population. 

The Hotel St. Charles -is a very fine impres- 
sive building in the centre of the city of New 
Orleans. It is of white stone, and the simple colon- 
naded front, with its tall straight fluted columns, 
gives it quite a classical appearance. It is the best 
hotel in the town, but it might be better ; it has 
spacious corridors, and handsomely furnished rooms, 
but the cuisine is not so good as it should be in an 
hotel of such pretensions, the table is poorly served, 
and it is wanting in that liberality which is character- 
istic of the South. The service is very scanty ; one 
servant seems to have to do the work of six. Our 
waiter was a simple biped — a mere man, when he 
ought to have had as many arms and legs as a devil 
fish ; he had need of them, he was always wanted 
here, there, and everywhere, and seemed to flash 
about on invisible telegraph wires. 



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The Paris of the South. 239 

We start in the early morning on a pedestrian ex- 
cursion through this "Paris of the South." We 
almost fancy that we have gone to sleep in the new 
world, and woke up in the old fair and familiar city 
across the sea. It is the same, yet not the same; 
there is a similarity in the general features, especially 
in the vicinity of Canal Street, to which I shall 
allude more fully by and by, and an insouciant 
gaiety in the aspect of the people, which pervades the 
very air they breathe ; an electric current seems 
always playing upon their spirits, moving their 
emotional nature, sometimes to laughter, sometimes 
to tears. It seems as though the two cities had been 
built on the same model, only differently draped and 
garnished, decorated with different orders, and 
stamped with a different die. Coming down a 
narrow lane, we met a typical old Frenchwoman, her 
mahogany coloured face scored like the bark of an 
old tree scarcely visible beneath her flapping sun- 
bonnet. She wore short petticoats, and came clatter- 
ing along over the rough stones in her wooden sabots, 
while her tall blue-bloused grandson carrying her well- 
filled basket strode beside her ; and a meek eyed sister 
of charity bent on her errand of mercy passed in at 
a creaking doorway. These were the only signs of 
life we saw as we first turned on our way to the 
French quarter of the town, which still bears the 
impress of the old colonial days. This is the most 



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240 Down South. 

ancient portion of the city, and full of romantic 
traditions of the days that are dead and gone. The 
long, narrow, crooked streets, running on all sides in 
a spidery fashion, with rows of shabby-looking houses, 
remain exactly as they were a hundred years ago. 
Strict conservatism obtains here ; nothing has been 
done in the way of improvement; the old wooden 
houses are bruised and battered as though they had 
been engaged in a battle with time and been worsted ; 
they are covered with discolorations and patches, 
naked and languishing for a coat of new paint. 
There are no dainty green sun blinds here, but heavy 
worm-eaten wooden shutters, and queer timber doors 
hung on clumsy iron hinges ; here and there we get a 
glimpse of the dingy interiors while a few bearded 
men are lounging smoking in the doorways, and a 
few children, chattering like French magpies, are play- 
ing on the threshold. Everything is quiet and dull — 
a sort of Rip Van Winkle-ish sleep seems drooping 
its drowsy wings and brooding everywhere, till a 
lumbering dray comes clattering over the cobble stones, 
and sends a thousand echoes flying through the 
lonely streets. 

From these stony regions, past the little old- 
fashioned church where the good Catholics worshipped 
a century ago and we emerge upon Canal Street, the 
principal business thoroughfare of the city ; it is 
thronged with people at this time of day, busy crowds 



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Its Streets. 241 

are passing to and fro, the shop windows are dressed 
in their most attractive wares, temptingly exposed to 
view. Confectioners, fruit, and fancy stores overflow 
into open stalls in front and spread along the side- 
walk ; huge bunches of green bananas, strawberries, 
peas, pines, cocoa-nuts and mangoes, mingled with 
dainty vegetables, are lying in heaps. We are tempted 
to try a mango, the favourite southern fruit, of whose 
luscious quality we have so often heard, but the first 
taste of its sickening sweetness satisfies our desires. 
The street is very wide, and the jingle-jangle of the 
car-bells, the rattling of wheels, and the spasmodic 
shriek and whistle of the steam engine — all mingle 
together in a not unsweet confusion. Lumbering 
vehicles, elegant carriages, street-cars, and a fussy 
little railway, all run in parallel lines along the wide 
roadway. This is the great backbone of the city, 
whence all lines of vehicular traffic branch off on 
their diverse tracks into all the highways and by- 
ways of the land. Here we get on to a car which 
carries us through the handsomest quarter of the 
city. Quaint, old-fashioned houses, surrounded by 
gardens of glowing flowers, and magnificent magno- 
lias, now in full bloom, stand here and there in 
solitary grandeur, or sometimes in groups like a 
conclave of green-limbed giants, clothed in white 
raiment, and perfumed with the breath of paradise. 
Past lines of elegant residences, where the ^lite of 

R 



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242 Down South. 

the city have their abode, and we soon reach a 
rough wooden shed yclept a " depot." Here 
the horses are unhitched, and a steam dummy 
attached to carry us on our way. The little dummy 
looks like a big-bellied coflfee-pot as it puflFs fussily 
along, on its way, but it does its work well, and in 
a little time lands us at "Carrolton." 

We alight at the railway terminus, at the foot of 
the levies, the Mecca of our morning pilgrimage. 
We ascend a dozen cranky steps, and stand on the 
top of the levde, with the coffee-coloured flood of 
the great Mississippi rolling at our feet, and look 
back upon the low-lying city behind us. 

This king of rivers is here wide and winding, 
but drowsy and sluggish; its vast waters rolling 
down from the north seem to languish here in the 
indolence of the South; it stretches its slow length 
along, like a sleeping giant with all its wondrous 
strength and power hushed beneath the summer sun. 

The levies form a delightfully cool promenade, and 
are thronged with people on summer evenings. Cosy 
benches shaded by wide spreading green trees are 
placed at certain distances, and glancing across the 
broad brown lazy river to the opposite side the view 
is picturesque in the extreme. 

The architectural beauty of New Orleans is unique, 
and wholly unlike any other Southern city; the 
avenues are wide and beautifully planted, a generous 



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Its Avenues. 243 

leafy shade spreads every way you turn. The dwell- 
ing houses which line St. Charles's Avenue are graceful, 
classical structures ; there are no Brummagem ginger- 
bread buildings, no blending together of ancient and 
modern ideas, and running wild into fancy chimney- 
pots, arches, points, and angles like a twelfth- 
cake ornament. Some are fashioned like Greek 
temples, most impressive in their chaste outline and 
simplicity of form ; others straight and square, with 
tall Corinthian columns or fluted pillars, sometimes of 
marble sometimes of stone. The severe architectural 
simplicity, the pure white buildings shaded by beau- 
tiful magnolias and surrounded by brilliant shrubs 
and flowers, form a vista charming to the eye and 
soothing to the senses, and all stands silhouetted 
against the brightest of blue skies — a blue before 
which the bluest of Italian skies would seem pale. 

The aspect of the city changes on every side ; we 
leave the fashionable residential regions, and enter 
broad avenues lined with grand old forest trees, 
sometimes in double rows, the thick leaved branches 
meeting and forming a canopy overhead. The ground 
is carpeted with soft green turf, and bare-legged 
urchins, black and white, are playing merry games ; a 
broken down horse is quietly grazing, and a cow is 
being milked under the trees, while a company of 
pretty white goats, with a fierce looking Billie at their 
head, are careering about close by. Pretty pastoral 

R 2 



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244 Down South. 

bits of landscape on every side cling to the skirts, 
and fringe the sides of this quaint city. As we get 
farther away from St. Charles's Avenue the better 
class of residences grow fewer and fewer, till they 
cease altogether, and we come upon pretty green- 
shuttered cottages, with their porches covered with 
blossoms, and rows of the old-fashioned straw bee- 
hives in front. Here and there are tall tenement 
houses built of cherry-red bricks, which are let out in 
flats to the labouring classes. 

We happen to be the only occupants of the car, 
and our driver, glancing back at us through the 
sliding door, and realising that we are strangers in 
the land, divides his attention between his horses 
and his passengers. He has a pale, fair, melancholy 
face and dreamy eyes — a kind of blond Henry Irving 
— and we cannot get rid of an idea that Hamlet the 
Dane has followed his lamented father's custom of 
" revisiting the glimpses of the moon," and is doing 
us the honour of driving our car. 

Presently we come upon a procession that attracts 
our interest. A party of people, chiefly of the 
gentler sex — I cannot in this case say the fairer, as 
they are all black as coals — are slowly parading the 
sidewalk, the girls, even down to little children three 
or four years old, all clad in white. It has been 
raining and the streets are still wet; they are 
tramping over muddy crossings in white satin 



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Its Ways and Customs. 245 

slippers, their white dresses draggling in the damp, 
while their brown or black faces and black shining 
eyes beam with a kind of grotesque incongruity 
through their white veils. 

"A bridal party?" we remark interrogatively to 
our Hamlet. The Prince of Denmark shakes his 
head, and vouchsafes a grave and dreamy smile as he 
corrects our mistake : '* No, ma'am. It's a coloured 
funeral." 

Turning into Claiborne Street we fancy it must be 
the entrance-gate to the forest primeval ; as far as 
the eye can reach we gaze through long vistas of 
ancient trees, whose huge trunks are gnarled and 
knotted and scarred by the passing ages. This 
delightful avenue has four rows of these glorious 
trees, with double car-tracks running under their cool 
and welcome shade ; down the centre, and crossed by 
rude rustic bridges, runs what we supposed to be a 
narrow canal or natural running stream, but we learn 
that it is an open sewer, the peculiar soil and 
sanitary arrangements of the city necessitating a 
system of open drainage — which is, however, by no 
means unsightly or oflfensive ; and through the 
arteries of the city there run these narrow sewers, 
carrying all the impurities and refuse as a kind of 
tributary oflfering to the glorious Mississippi. 

The burial grounds or cemeteries we pass on our 
way have a strange appearance, as in consequence of 



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246 Down South. 

the peculiarities of the soil and climate, the dead are 
not buried under the earth, but are laid upon its 
surface with the stone monument raised above them. 

Another day we have a light springy carriage, and 
avoiding the car-tracks bowl over the soft green turf, 
beneath the arching trees, with the sunlight glinting 
through. We drive out of the city, and wind about 
among its picturesque suburbs — a charming drive, 
though the air is moist and warm, and our strength 
seems oozing from our finger-tips. We can imagine 
what New Orleans must be in summer time, when 
even in these April days our vital forces grow faint 
and feeble. 

The public buildings, state oflSces, and churches, 
are remarkably fine architectural features of the city. 
There is no need to describe them here, for the 
written description of one church, unless indeed 
there is some special history connected therewith, 
sounds much the same as another ; and any visitor to 
the city can get an excellent guide thereto and 
familiarise himself with their appearance so far as 
he desires, and some are interesting enough to repay 
him for his trouble. 

There is one very favourite excursion, largely 
patronised by the inhabitants of the city on warm 
summer evenings, and one which the most casual 
tourist should not fail to take. We enter the little 
railway train in Canal Street, the very heart of the 



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A Dismal Swamp. 247 

city, and steaming leisurely along we soon reach the. 
outskirts, and run through pretty woodland scenery,, 
with dainty dwellings scattered here and there among 
the full-foliaged trees. Presently we come upon a 
long stretch of open country ; on one side is the canal, 
with a wide roadway and spacious tracts of cultivated 
lands beyond it. On the other side of the railway 
track, on our right, there runs a similar carriage road 
and footway running along the edge of a luxuriant 
thicket of green low-lying bushes, which seem like 
the ragged fringe of the virgin forest ; then there 
rises clusters of slight willowy slips ; a part of the 
pristine family of oaks and alders which have grown 
and developed into gigantic trees, thickening and 
twining their long arms together till they form an 
impenetrable mass of green, but instead of a bit 
of forest primeval, we are told that this is a most 
dismal swamp of many miles extent, utterly im- 
passable for either man or beast, and varying from 
two to eight or ten feet deep, the abode of repulsive 
reptiles and other obnoxious creatures. They say that 
it is no uncommon thing at certain seasons of the 
year for a huge black or green snake to wriggle 
out of its home of slush and slime and coil itself 
up on the pathway, or an alligator will sometimes 
be found stretched along the railway track, its 
lidless eyes staring stupidly at the sun. 

The whole of this part of New Orleans has been 



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248 Down South. 

reclaimed from these extensive swamps, and no doubt, 
if the necessity should arise, the whole ground may- 
be reclaimed and cultivated or built over ; but such a 
proceeding could only be carried out at an almost 
fabulous expense, and as the great lungs of the city 
have plenty of breathing room in other directions, 
it will no doubt be left, for this century at least, 
in the occupation of noisome reptiles, the refuse of 
God's creatures. 

Lake Ponchartrain, where we are presently safely 
deposited, is one of the most picturesque spots in 
all this region ; a silver shining sheet of water, on 
whose surface the passing clouds seem softly sailing, 
for the skies are reflected therein as in a mirror. We 
look across the water upon wide stretches of undu- 
lating cultivated lands, " with verdure clad," a soft 
mossy carpet with purple flags and long lance-like 
grasses reaching down to the water's edge. A lovely 
garden, artistically arranged with tropical flowers, 
fully half a mile long, runs along this side of the 
lake, and among the beds of gorgeous blossoms there 
are pretty winding walks, and rustic benches are 
arranged beneath wide-spreading shady trees. A 
glorious promenade runs like a golden band along 
the borders, and a pretty fancifully-built hotel and 
restaurant stands at the head of the lake. It is a 
perfect nest of a place, hung round with balconies 
and covered with climbing plants, the luxurious 



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Pleasure Gardens. 249 

Virginian creeper with its wealth of purple bloom 
with white star-like flowers mingling between. Sur- 
rounding the hotel is a wide space studded with little 
marble-topped tables, dedicated to the convenience of 
the hungry and thirsty multitudes who flock thither 
up from the hot, dusty town on summer evenings, to 
breathe the fresh cool air which blows across the 
surface of the lake. 

Tables and chairs are set in all kinds of shady 
nooks and corners, and merry parties are sipping 
sherbet, lemonade, and ice-cream ; even the demo- 
cratic " lager beer " is served in foaming goblets, and 
while the band is playing people stroll to and fro or 
group under the trees eating ices, and not always 
confining themselves to the above harmless beverages. 
They enjoy themselves each after his own fashion, 
and it is generally midnight before the last train 
returns with its living freight towards the town. 

We take our last evening stroll through the streets 
of New Orleans, which have a fascination unknown 
to them by day. They are everywhere brilliantly 
illuminated ; we fancy it must be some special occa- 
sion, but it is always the same ; electric lights and 
gas-jets in quaint devices are flaring everywhere, 
strains of music are floating on the air, the shops and 
stalls are ablaze with brilliant colouring, and appear in 
fancy dress — as a lady throws off" her morning robes 
and appears en grande toilette for the evening festivi- 



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250 Down South. 

ties ; open air performances, shows, and theatres are 
in full swing. Strange to say, places that have 
seemed quiet and harmless, even dingy, during the 
daytime, bloom out into gambling dens, where the 
rattling of dice and the rolling of billiard balls make 
deadly music through the night. How often some 
haggard form, hunted by ruin and despair, slips like 
a shadow from these lighted halls ; a pistol-shot, a 
groan, and he vanishes into a darker night, " where 
never more the sun shall rise or set." There are no 
laws against gambling ; they are a free people here, 
and are allowed to choose each his own road to ruin, 
consequently gambling is carried on to a frightful 
extent, and by all kinds and conditions of men. It 
seems indigenous to the soil, for while men stake 
houses and lands, nay, the very last coin from their 
pockets, the very children gamble over their tops and 
marbles or dirt pies in the gutter. 

The inhabitants of New Orleans are never tired 
of expatiating on the beauties of their city, and 
dilating on the golden history of its romantic past, 
or the prosperous record of its present day. Their 
devotion further insists on the general healthiness 
of its climate ; they admit there are occasional 
epidemics, but then at certain seasons epidemics 
rage everywhere, they are not specially improvised 
for New Orleans, and the black population suffers 
always more than the white. 



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The Scourge of the South. ' 251 

Lovely though it be — a most quaint, picturesque 
old city, with its bright skies and gorgeous growth 
of tropical flowers — no sane person could have faith 
in its sanitary perfections. A beautiful human nest 
it is ; low-lying, as in a hole scooped out of the 
solid earth, many feet below the waters of the 
Mississippi, partially surrounded by swamps of the 
rankest kind, and girdled by silver streams and 
deep flowing rivers, it must necessarily be the 
favourite resort of the malarial fiend. Here that 
scourge of the South, the yellow fever, too, rising 
from sweltering earth, sends forth his scorching, 
blighting breath, and clothes the land in mourning. 
But every man clings to his own soil ; no matter 
whether it brings forth thorns or roses, he is satisfied 
with the gathering thereof 

" Well," exclaimed a devoted citizen as he cheerfully 
discussed the subject with us, " in every country there 
is an occasional force which carries off the surplus 
population ; sometimes it is fire, or flood, earthquakes 
or mining explosions. Nature sends us the yellow 
fever ; of course it is not a pleasant visitor, but it 
does its work well enough, and I don't know but 
it is as well to get out of the world that way as 
any other." 

It is impossible to enumerate half the pleasant 
excursions which may be taken from New Orleans. 
Its wonderful watery highways are amon^ the finest 



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252 Down South. 

in the world, and wind through the land in all 
directions. By them you may travel anywhere and 
everywhere through the loveliest scenery of the 
South, as pleasantly as though the panorama were 
passing the windows of your own drawing-room. 

Splendid steamers — floating palaces indeed of 
gigantic proportions, luxuriously upholstered, and 
fitted with all the carving and gilding so dear to 
some travellers' hearts — are eternally passing to and 
fro. We were strongly disposed to take a trip on 
the '* Natchez," the sovereign vessel, but time pressed, 
and we were compelled to move on. 



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CHAPTER XVIII. 

Atlanta. — A wilderness of bricks and mortar. — Lovely sur- 
roundings. — Scarlet woods. — Memorial day. — Scenes in the 
cemetery. 

About five o'clock on a sultry afternoon we start 
on the cars for Atlanta. The train is crowded, the 
day is bright, the spiritual thermometer stands high, 
and everybody seems resolved to be sopial with 
everybody else ; they commence with a running 
fire of casual gossip, and proceed to give gratuitous 
information of a confidential character concerning 
themselves and their families. One gentleman is 
returning from Texas, and fondly cherishes a banana 
tree, which he is carrpng home to his wife in Atlanta, 
intending to try and coax it into growing in the garden 
there. He has tried the experiment before, he tells 
us, but the banana will not take kindly to the soil ; 
in spite of all care hitherto it has invariably drooped 
and died. Still, he does not despair ; like the lonely 
scion of a sickly family he will cherish this last, and 
endeavour to raise a new family on his native soil. 
We fare well on this journey ; though there are no 



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254 Down South. 

regular eating stations erected on the way yet we 
are well provided for. People come on the cars 
at certain places, bringing plates of broiled chicken 
and meats, with delicious little brown crisp rolls of 
bread, hard boiled eggs, and tarts, covered with 
snow-white napkins, and daintily arranged so as to 
tempt the appetite ; and baskets of delicious grapes 
and peaches with the tender bloom upon them, and 
every kind of fruit that is in season. Glasses of iced 
milk, a delicious beverage, may also be obtained. 

We reach Atlanta the next day about two o'clock, 
and take up our abode at Markham House, which 
is conveniently situated opposite the railway station. 
This is an extremely comfortable and homelike hotel, 
without any pretence to luxurious entertainment or 
upholstered grandeur; but we find there a capital 
table liberally served. 

We are, however, somewhat dismayed on going 
to perform our customary ablutions when we find 
our ewer filled with something strongly resembling 
pea-soup. We demand water, and learn that this 
obnoxious liquid is all the water we are likely to 
get for ablutionary purposes. The table is supplied 
with something drinkable of a less soupy description, 
though far removed from the *' bright waters of the 
sparkling fountain ; " but for a few days we must 
perforce be content, and take our mud bath with 
what appetite we may. 



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Atlanta. 255 

There is nothing picturesque or attractive in either 
of the Atlanta hotels ; ours, we are told, is considered 
second rate, but there is really little difference between 
them. Both are situated in crowded thoroughfares, 
and both are within a stone's throw of the railway- 
station, and are simple structures with no architecture 
to speak of. The city is built in a rambling labyrin- 
thine fashion, as though it had grown up in a wild way 
of its own, straggling along here and there, without any 
set plan or design beyond the convenience of the day. 
It has pushed itself out in all directions, here pranking 
itself out in glowing gardens and garlands of green, 
there rising up in huge brick buildings seven stories 
high, massed together in blocks, or stretched in long 
rows, lifting their stony heads high in the air, looking 
down threateningly and frowningly as though they 
meant some day to topple over into the narrow street 
below. It has grown large and strong, and no longer 
runs in leading-strings, but asserts itself as one of 
the most important cities of the South. 

The resources of the surrounding country are 
developing day by day, being especially rich in the 
production of cotton of the finest kind, quite equal 
to that grown on the famous Sea-islands of Carolina. 
All the varied wealth of the country for hundreds 
of miles round pours into Atlanta, which in turn 
distributes ft to all parts of the world. This 
conglomeration of bricks and mortar is not attractive 



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256 Down South. 

in itself, but is most interesting in its eaxly history, 
its gradual growth and marvellous development ; all 
within the city limits is full of the stir and bustle 
of commonplace life, its surroundings are simply 
lovely and most romantic. 

A short car drive through the up-and-down 
stony streets, a ramble through a winding lane, and 
we are in the midst of a beautiful wild wood flaming 
with scarlet honeysuckle, creeping up, twining round, 
and seeming to strangle the great strong trees in its 
close embrace, drooping its bright blooms like a 
canopy above our heads ; they are lovely to the eye, 
but, like so many beautiful things, are poisonous and 
scentless. We wander for hours, but do not get to 
the end of the crimson woods. Every man, woman, 
or child we meet — black, white, or brown — have their 
hands full of the gorgeous rose-red flowers of this 
Southern honeysuckle, so far richer than its northern 
sister. Some are carrying them home in baskets for 
domestic decoration, others make them into wreaths, 
or wear them on their hats or on their breasts. 

No matter in what direction you turn on leaving 
the labyrinths of bricks and mortar, you are at once 
plunged into a wealth of lovely scenery, fringed on 
one side with the blazing woods; on one side it is 
skirted by richly-timbered, well-cultivated lands, 
jewelled with wild flowers of every hue and colour. 
Then we come upon a tangle of forest scenery or 



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Memorial Day. 257 

thickets varying from a few to thousands of acres. 
These consist of a dense growth of live and water 
oaks, dog wood, hickory, and pine, hung with garlands 
of moss, or close clinging draperies of purple blooms, 
birds are peeping and twittering in and out, butter- 
flies and insects humming, and a whole colony of 
frogs croaking joyously throughout this luxuriant 
wilderness. We should not be much surprised to 
find a fairy city hidden away in this labyrinthine 
mass of leaves and timbers ; who knows but when the 
evening shadows fall, and a thousand tiny twinkling 
lights flash hither and thither, we think the fireflies 
are abroad, when in reality it is the elfin army 
of lamplighters illuminating their fairy city with 
wandering stars. 

In these sweet solitudes the morning passes quickly, 
and in the afternoon we go to the cemetery, which 
is about three miles from the town, to witness the 
decoration of the soldiers' graves — for it is Memorial 
Day — the one day set apart in every year now and for 
all time for people to come to do honour to the dead 
who fell in the lost cause ; nay, for the dead who fell 
on either side. Streams of people crowd the high- 
ways and byways, all flowing in one direction, and 
all mass together at the wide-open gates of the 
cemetery. The ground is kept by sundry mutilated 
remnants of the war ; some with one arm, some with 
one leg, but none have the right complement of limbs, 

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258 Down South. 

while some are mere mutilated crippled specimens of 
humanity, with bent bodies and limbs twisted out of 
their natural form. We wonder how they have had 
courage to crawl so far towards the end of their days, 
and to bear themselves cheerfully too. But the great 
God who " tempers the wind to the shorn lamb " has 
not forgotten them. He sends them an invisible 
support and comforter we know not of ; He lays His 
blessed hand upon their heart-strings and makes a 
music in their lives, grander and sweeter than is the 
blare of victorious trumpets to the conqueror's ear. 
They live their lives out in this city of the dead, and 
through the sunny days or evening shadows, sleeping 
or waking, are always there surrounded by their 
silent brotherhood, who wait for them in the great 
beyond. They lie here under the green sod with 
upturned faces and hands crossed upon their breasts. 
'* After life's fitful fever they sleep well." 

We arrive an hour before the ceremonial commences, 
and walk about the pretty grave-garden and read the 
names upon the monuments, and listen to anecdotes 
of those who rest below. The old soldiers seem to 
love to talk of their dead comrades, to fight their 
battles over again. They tell us how this one, " such 
a fine, handsome young fellow/' rode always into 
battle whistling a merry tune as he dashed into the 
thick of it ; and how this one with the spirit of the 
ancient Puritans uplifted his voice to the glory of 



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" To OUR Confederate Dead ! '' 259 

God as he brandished his sword and rushed to the 
front. 

Presently a slow solemn strain of music with the 
roll of the muffled drum reaches our ears. It comes 
nearer and nearer. There is a trampling of feet, " the 
tramp of thousands sounding like the tread of one," 
and the committee, escorted by a detachment of 
soldiers with their arms reversed and followed by a 
multitude of people, make their way across the hilly 
ground, and through the winding pathways till they 
reach a wide grassy slope, where, railed in and reached 
by a flight of marble steps, there stands a huge plain 
shaft of granite, with the inscription in large gold 
letters, " To our Confederate Dead," engraved thereon. 
A platform is raised in front of this, which is now 
occupied by some score or two of ladies, all dressed 
in deep mourning, each carrying a basket of flowers, 
which may be replenished from the miniature 
mountain of violets and pale wild roses which are 
heaped upon the ground. Lying around, spreading in 
all directions, are myriad nameless graves. Some have a 
white headstone a foot high, some have wooden crosses, 
some have but the green turf to cover them. Here 
Federals and Confederates lie side by side, no enmity 
between them now. The treaty of eternal peace has 
been signed by the sovereign lord, Death ; all are now 
gathered together and are marching through the silent 
land, under the banner of their great Captain, Christ. 

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260 Down South. 

There was a slight stir and a few elderly gray- 
headed men, accompanied by a minister of the church, 
ascended the platform. A hush fell upon the multi- 
tude, and all listen reverently and bareheaded while 
an earnest simple prayer is oflFered up. 

Then a tall, soldier-like man, a well-known general, 
who had faced a hundred fires, stepped forward and 
made a most touching and eloquent address — to which 
friend or foe, victor and vanquished, might listen with 
equal feeling of interest and respect, — glorifying the 
heroic qualities of those who fought and fell in the 
lost cause, but, while giving honour to the dead, 
detracting nothing from the living. The keynote 
running through the whole discourse was like a prayer 
that the seed sown amid fire and sword, and watered 
by the blood of patriots (patriots all; no matter on 
which side they fought, each believed they were 
fighting for their rights), might take root, grow, 
flourish, and yield a glorious harvest for the gathering 
of this great countr}% her unity never again to be dis- 
turbed and torn by the children of her love and pride. 

At the conclusion of the address a hjonn, *' Nearer, 
my God, to Thee,'' was sung by the uplifted voices of 
the whole multitude, even to the outermost edge they 
caught up the sweet refrain, and it rose and fell, 
swelled and softened, till it rolled back upon our ears 
in waves of melodious music, which stirred our hearts 
and sent a mist floating before our eyes. 



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A Touching Ceeemonial. 261 

Now the ladies descend from the platform and 
scatter themselves over the ground, their mourning 
figures passing to and fro among the graves : on every 
mound they lay a bunch of flowers, regardless on 
which side they fought, — the ^* boys in blue '' and the 
'* boys in gray " are all arrayed in one common 
raiment now. Who knows but a spirit army may be 
bending down from the skies above, watching the 
pious work, and no longer seeing through a glass 
darkly, longing to whisper, " All is well," to the hearts 
which are still sorrowing below. 

The solemn ceremonial over, drums beat, the 
soldiers resume their arms, form in line, the band 
plays a stirring military air, and they march quickly 
ofi' the ground. We watch the crowd melt away, 
but do not feel disposed to join the busy, chattering 
stream on its homeward road, especially as by this 
time quite a miniature fair has risen up outside the 
cemetery gates; and roast peanuts, fruit, cake, and 
iced drinking stalls are surrounded by thirsty multi- 
tudes, who keep up a lively rattle among themselves ; 
while the tag-rag of the gathering run after the 
military procession, and follow it on its way back 
to the dusty town. We wander for a while through 
the deserted cemetery, reading the strange medley 
of mottoes, and the sometimes ludicrous and always 
commonplace chronicles of the virtues of the sleeper. 
We are presently invited to sit down and rest in the 



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262 Down South, 

porch of a rustic dwelling, the home of one of the 
crippled guardians of the place — a grand old man 
he was, with gray hair and a face bronzed by ex- 
posure to many weathers, and scored and wrinkled 
by the hand of time. He brought us a jug of 
deliciously cool milk, and sat down and talked, as 
old men love to talk, of " the days that are bygone '' ; 
and told us many pleasant anecdotes of "how we 
lived down south forty years ago." 

The evening shadows were lengthening, and lying 
like long spectral fingers on the dead men's graves, 
as we rose up and made our way hurriedly to the 
horse-car which was to carry us back to Atlanta. 



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CHAPTER XIX. 

Columbia. — ^Wright's Hotel. — Variegated scenes. — Past and 
present. — A Sabbath city. — ^The penitentiary. — Sunday 
service. — A few last words. 

We start for Columbia at half-past eight in the 
morning; it is dull and misty during the earlier 
part, but as the day deepens the weather clears, and 
by the time we are running through the great cotton 
belt of Georgia, a bright sun is shining, and we enjoy 
the pretty, peaceful scenery; which, however, has 
no especial feature till we reach the Great Stone 
Mountain, a vast mass of gray granite, standing 
bald and bare, rising far above the tops of the tallest 
trees, which are grouped round its base, like a com- 
pany of dwarfs at the feet of a giant. It is visible 
for miles round — a huge, gray dome cut out of the 
blue skies. The stone quarry from the base of this 
mountain is used, and has been used for years past, 
in the building of public edifices and churches in the 
near-lying cities, without any visible diminution or 
disfiguration. Here and there is a deep dentation — 



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264 Down South. 

as though you had scooped a spoonful from a 
mountain of ice cream, nothing more. When it 
first looms upon the sight, it looks like a huge 
globe rising out of the earth, smooth as a biUiard 
ball, silhouetted against the bright blue skies. 

It is nearly eleven o'clock at night when we reach 
Columbia; here hotel omnibuses, as usual, are in 
waiting. Into one of these we get ; and the lumber- 
ing, creaky old vehicle leaps, and bumps, playing 
the game of pitch and toss with us, as it rattles over 
the rough, stony way, through a darkness black as 
Erebus. We peer out through the windows; there 
is nothing but darkness visible — no signs of a city. 
Presently, rows of trees, dark, spectral trees, seem 
to be marching past us — rustling their leaves, waving 
their thick branches, stretching their leafy arms on 
each side of us, as though they were trying to stop 
our way I Are we driving through a forest ? we 
wonder. 

There is only one other occupant of the omnibus 
— a tall, limp young man, who has flung himself in 
a heap at the farthest corner. We venture to inquire 
of him. 

" We seem to be going a long way. Are we far 
from the city ? " and he answers in a sort of dislocated 
voice, 

'' Well — we're getting along ; " which patent fact 
brings no information to our inquiring minds. 



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Columbia. 265 

Presently we catcli a glimmer of light shining from 
among the trees, and find we are nearing human 
habitations at last ; for tiny lamps are gleaming from 
pretty nests of houses, which are hidden away in the 
woodland background. The lights gradually grow 
more and more numerous, and wide streets develop 
out of the darkness, and the sounds of tramping feet 
and voices reach our ears. Through these we rattle 
quickly, and in a very few moments are deposited at 
our destination, " Wright's Hotel,'' which, on closer 
acquaintance, we decide to be one of the cosiest and 
pleasantest in all the south. It stands on the 
principal thoroughfare, and has a wide and impos- 
ing elevation. The rooms are beautifully clean and 
comfortably furnished ; and the cuisine is excellent. 
The everyday cooking is elevated to a fine art : an 
omelette is as light and airy as a dream ; a broil has 
a flavour of poetry about it ; and a fricandeau arrives 
at a state of idyllic perfection. All the arrangements 
are essentially English, and we settle down for a few 
days with a home-like feeling in our hearts. 

The city stands on a lofty plateau — a hill, indeed, 
of great elevation, and the surrounding country, 
sloping away in all directions, lies around us a perfect 
panorama of natural beauty. Whichever way we 
turn our eyes, they travel downwards and outwards, 
far away, over wide stretches of wooded country. 
There a rapid river runs in and out, amid a paradise 



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266 Down South. 

of green ; then a sheet of silver water, or placid lake, 
calm as an infant's sleep, dimples in the light of the 
sun ; and wild wildernesses lie nestling among what 
look like English fields of buttercups and daisies 
and acres of waving grain ; while a rich growth of 
variegated green fringes the feet or climbs up the 
sides of the softly swelling distant hills. Tender 
lights and shadows are lying restfuUy everywhere. 
It all looks so calm and peaceful — as though nature, 
hushed to sleep, was smiling in her dreams. 

The streets of the city are wide, and of course 
arranged as usual to run at right angles ; there has 
been no hurry or confusion in the building of it, the 
spirit of the designer is visible everywhere, and the 
design has been carefully carried out with harmonious 
effect ; every vista is pleasant and refreshing to the 
eye. Like most other southern cities the thoroughfares 
are shaded with magnificent old trees, thickly planted, 
and of prodigious size, on both sides of the road ; 
and yet Columbia has a character peculiarly its own. 
It is like an oasis lifted up and out of the great world 
round it ; a serene and silent city it sits apart, with a 
life and story all its own ; there is no noise or bustle, 
no hurrying throngs of people streaming through the 
vacant streets, no jingling bells of cars, no rattling 
of carriages passing over the stony roads — only at 
certain hours the hotel omnibuses crawl to and from 
the station — a drowsy hum is in the air, the shops 



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Idyllic Scenes. 267 

have opened their glassy eyes and are blinking in the 
morning light ; they might as well go to sleep again 
— nobody seems to want to buy anything — only a 
few stragglers are wandering aimlessly about, every- 
thing moves leisurely, nobody seems in a hurry about 
anything. Life itself seems to move onward with 
slow and solemn footstep, scarce making a single 
echo on the shores of time. 

So stands this lovely city steeped in the southern 
sunshine, robed in fair green garlands, with blooming 
gardens clinging about her skirts ; there is a refreshing 
sweetness in the air, a purity and harmony mingled 
with a Sabbath stillness everywhere. 

A patriarchal simplicity pervades the atmosphere, 
the people seem to know we are strangers, and as 
strangers greet us with a recognising smile or pleasant 
word ; the coloured folks relapse into a broad grin ; 
there is a gentle courtesy, an air of good breeding, 
even among the loafers gathered at the street corners 
as they lift their ragged caps and make way for us 
to pass. We turn down a pretty, shady thoroughfare 
and as we are rambling along in a state of sweet con- 
tentment, imbued with the brooding spirit of the 
place, a cheery voice bids us '* Good morning." We 
look up and two black faces with laughing eyes and 
gleaming teeth look down upon us from a perfect nest 
of roses, the two women are sitting in their balcony 
with their dusky children rolling at their feet ; a 



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268 Down South. 

game at questions, answers, and observations follows, 
and we enjoy quite a pleasant characteristic conver- 
sation ; one comes down and brings us a handful of 
sweet-smelling flowers as we pass on our way. 

We wander through this idyllic city as through a 
land of dreams, and have some difficulty in finding 
our way back to our hotel, as the streets are all 
verbally christened but none have their names 
written up, the houses too are unnumbered. I re- 
marked that this is an awkward arrangement or 
want of arrangement. 

'' Not at all," is the answer, " everybody knows 
everybody here." 

" But it is certainly puzzling for strangers." 

" Oh, strangers have only got to ask, they find 
their ways wherever they wish to go, and get along 
well enough." 

We " got along," and one bright morning found 
our way to the university, a fine old, red-brick build- 
ing, standing back far away from the shady street, 
in a quadrangle surrounded by tall red-brick houses, 
with rows of trees planted before and blooming 
gardens behind them; a few marauding geese are 
gobbling on the green, but there are no other signs 
of life, not even a stray dog in the inclosure, the 
wide quadrangle is empty of humanity ; a soft 
breeze stirs the tall tree tops, rustling the leaves 
with a whispering sound, as though they had brought 



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White and Black. 269 

a message from some far-oflf lands. A cloistered 
stillness is about the place which is almost oppres- 
sive as we wander to and fro, looking up at the tall 
closed houses and pondering on the special history 
we know of some of them. We cannot gain ad- 
mission to the college, as the doors are barred and 
we see no one to whom we could address an inquiry, 
so we turn away, and with echoless footsteps pass 
over the green sward out into the public high-road. 

The next morning we drive out, in a rather rickety, 
shandrydan vehicle, over the broad sandy roads, past 
a pretty little valley or wild wooded basin, so called 
a " park," to the penitentiary or State prison. We 
are received by a dignified-looking gentleman, the 
governor, and by him handed over to the military 
guard, who conducts us through the different wards. 

No idling here — shoemakers, carpenters, black- 
smiths, all hard at work, amidst profound silence so 
far as the human voice is concerned, for prisoners 
are not permitted to speak, even in answer to the 
visitors' remarks addressed to them. The majority 
of both sexes are coloured, there is but a mere 
sprinkling of white convicts. Some Boston tourists, 
who have joined our party, sigh as they observe this. 
*' Evidently the white man's offences are condoned, 
while the poor negro is invariably convicted," they 
say, shaking their heads deploringly. A good- 
natured, cheery-looking matron takes us through 



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270 Down South. 

the women's quarters, where all are busily engaged 
at sewing, stitching, or machine work ; here, too, 
strict silence is preserved, they make their require- 
ments known by dumb show ; most of them keep 
their heads bent downwards as we enter, but one or 
two look up, and a smile, like a gleam of sunshine, 
breaks over their clouded faces, their eyes speak 
though their lips are mute, as they recognise their 
matron's kindly face, — no need of words to tell of 
her popularity, for grateful glances follow her wher- 
ever she goes, even the brush of her skirts as she 
passes seems to do them good ; she gives an encour- 
aging pat here, a smile or kindly word there, and who 
knows but the seed one kind heart scatters among 
their barren lives may take root and help them to 
bear something better than prison fruit in the future. 
She passes on, doing a true Christian's duty in 
smoothing the way of the unfortunate, who have 
fallen beyond the pale of human law, but not beyond 
the reach of God's mercy. 

The workrooms where they pass their days are 
light and airy, but the small, bare, white, vaulted 
cells, where they spend their time from six in the 
evening till six in the morning, look barren, cold, 
and silent as so many narrow graves. There are no 
windows, they are honeycombed into the wall, and air 
and light are only admitted through the iron-grated 
entrance door, which gives on to a wide whitewashed 



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The Prison Church. 271 

corridor, where the warder in charge keeps watch 
during the night. 

The penitentiary is surrounded by very extensive 
grounds, laid out to supply the prison with vegetables, 
here a score or two of prisoners in striped, zebra-like 
clothing are at work digging potatoes or cultivating 
cabbages. A high wall surrounds this open space, 
a turret or watch-box stands in the centre on the top 
of each section, commanding every inch of the 
ground. These are occupied night and day by an 
armed guard, who have orders to shoot down any 
prisoner who attempts to escape. 

" They don't often miss their aim either," observes 
our guide complacently. 

On Sunday we attend service here. The barn-like 
building dedicated to divine worship is not nearly 
large enough to hold half the prisoners ; they overflow 
outside the doors, swarm on the steps, and cling in 
groups outside the windows. Nearly all are coloured, 
some pure black. The leader of the choir, a tall, 
good-looking young fellow, we are told is a " lifer," 
in for arson, a very common crime among the negroes. 
The southern laws seem to be far more rigorous than 
those of the north, capital punishment being enforced 
for some offences which are met only by imprisonment 
in the northern States. Amongst the crowd of 
coloured folk, we notice there are three or four white 
women, who, according to general custom, take 



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272 Down South. 

precedence of the dark race ; they enter first in the 
procession, and sit in the front row. One keeps her 
head determinedly bent down ; we just see under the 
shadow of her calico poke-bonnet a young rounded 
chin, a fair smooth cheek with a peach-like bloom 
upon it ; but her eyes and brow we never catch a 
glimpse of; she sits through the whole service with 
eyes and head bowed resolutely down out of our range 
of sight. What is her story ? Somehow we feel it 
must be a pitiful one, and our sympathies go out to 
her. Does the sight of us *' remind her of the state 
from which she fell ? " — the descent so easy, the return 
so hard and almost impossible ! Next her sits 
another woman, a striking contrast, an older woman 
with a powerful characteristic face, dark defiant eyes, 
close thin lips, she seems to look her fate in the face 
boldly, as though she had "dreed her weird," and 
took her punishment without shrinking ; a hard 
Ishmaelitish face it is ; she looks as though she was 
against all the world, and the world was against her ; 
no softening line, no gleam of sorrow or regret rested 
thereon. Whatever crime she had committed, she 
looks ready to go out and commit it again. Her hard 
cold eyes glare at us angrily, as though resenting our 
presence. 

" What right have you to come out of your free 
sunny world to see us in our home of shame and 
misery ? " they seem to say. We feel quite restless 



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Excelsior I 275 

they gave no thought or care to anything beyond ; 
like the gorgeous butterflies, they rather looked down 
on the working bees, who have the building up and 
are the mainsprings of this world's well-being. 

Cradled in sunshine, girdled by all that is lovely in 
creation, wrapped in fine raiment, but with the earth- 
worm Slavery curled about its roots, sapping its 
nobler instincts, eating its heart away, and binding its 
invisible soul with chains stronger than those which 
bind its own miserable body, the South slept the 
sleep of a most baneful peace, till the sleep was 
broken, and the thunder of war echoed through the 
silent land. Then how grandly she awoke, shook off 
her rosy chains, and rose up like a god, with her 
latent fires blazing, her energies new strung, and — 
but everybody knows what followed. Never was 
desolation so great as that which fell upon this beau- 
tiful land ; never was ruin more proudly met, more 
grandly borne. It is nobler, far nobler now than in 
its hour of pride ; there are no puerile regrets, no 
rebellious utterings, no useless looking back ; their 
niotto is " Excelsior I " and with undaunted spirit, 
men and women too (for the Southern women are " the 
souls of men'*) are striving to build up a glorious 
future upon the ruins of the past. Every man puts 
his hand to the plough and devotes his life, and uses 
his best energies as a kind of lever to lift up his 
country to the */old heroic height.'' Passionate 



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276 Down South. 

devotion and fervent patriotism is aglow through all 
the south, but every man is devoted to his own 
special State rather than to the united whole ; and 
everywhere they are at work, immense factories are 
in full operation, mines are being opened, railways 
built, and through the whole length and breadth of 
the South a general stir and bustle of business 
prevails. Everywhere prosperity is present, and the 
prospect widens of a growing prosperity in the future. 
Meanwhile, new industries and new inventions crowd 
the market. One new industry is the making of 
'' olive butter," which is a very fine oil, extracted 
from the cotton seeds, which in the old days were 
regarded as useless and thrown away. Many thou- 
sands of persons are employed in carrying on this 
business, which brings (and is probably on the in- 
creasing scale) to the Southern States annually the 
sum of fifteen millions of dollars. 

Northern capital has generously outstretched a 
friendly hand, and poured its wealth into the empty 
cofiers, and given the means of general rehabilitation ; 
and the awakened South has brains to plan, and pluck 
and energy to carry on its noble campaign, while the 
world looks on with silent respect and expectation for 
the days that are to come. 



LONDON : R. CLAT, SONS, AND TAYLOB» PBINTEAS, BRBAD STREET HILL 



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One Prisoner's Face. 273 

and uncomfortable beneath her stony gaze ; we can- 
not avoid it, we cannot get away from it ; it has a 
sort of magnetic attraction, a fascination for us ; we 
turn our eyes away, and try to fix our attention on 
the preacher, but it is no use ; there is some disturbing 
element in the air, and against our will our eyes are 
drawn back to that powerful face, with its lowering 
brow and rebellious lips. 

We are glad when the service is over, and we get 
out into heaven's sunshine and breathe the pure fresh 
air again. Still that face haunts us and casts a 
shadow on the sunlight, and at night those pale 
steely eyes flash out between the darkness and our 
dreams. Somehow, on that glorious Sabbath morn- 
ing, we wish we had left our devotions undone. We 
feel that somewhere and at some future time we shall 
see that face again — we should know it, years hence, 
among a thousand. 

It is perhaps here in Columbia more than in any 
other city that we realise to the fullest extent the 
ruin and desolation that has been ; for though, as a 
rule, throughout the main streets the houses in a 
scrambling sort of way are built up again, yet there 
are wide gaps and ruins of crumbling stone and 
charred wood, partly covered now with soft moss or a 
rank growth of tall weeds. Here, round an extensive 
comer a hoarding is raised to hide the utter desola- 
tion that lies where once were lovely homes, now 

T 



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274 Down South. 

levelled to the dust, and blooming gardens, now a 
wilderness of thorns and thistles, scattered over with 
the mute signs of broken lives. These ugly features 
come upon us in the midst of perfect peace — a calm 
repose lies over the land ; but still they point with 
spectral finger to the scar left by cruel wounds. 
And over the sweet golden sunshine of that still 
Sabbath morning a shadow seems to fall. In fancy 
we see the darkness of one awful night close over 
Columbia, the signal rockets shoot up from that State 
House on the hill, the fiery tongues of flame leap from 
crumbling homes and devastated hearths. But these 
things are not to be thought of now. The " dark 
hour" of Columbia is past, and we see her lying 
peacefully to-day in the light of the rosy dawn. 

Our southern trip is over, and we turn our faces 
eastward, leaving many regrets behind, and carrying 
many pleasant memories away with us. We have 
seen the south, not in its full flush of prosperity, its 
hour of pride, but in its struggles to rise up to a 
higher and nobler height than it has ever yet reached. 
Industry and thrift have taken the place of luxury and 
ease. Scarce twenty years ago and the whole land 
was drowsily dreaming away its life, with only a 
sybaritish enjoyment of the present ; no ambition for 
coming years, no sowing the good seed for the future 
harvest of mankind. The whole world's centre was 
in themselves and their own immediate surroundings ; 



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